The event was organised by fellow entrepreneur Richard Glasson, whose business – marketing agency Gyro International – has been helping St Giles Trust, a charity dedicated to rehabilitating offenders. The work is done through The Gyro Foundation, which supports the local community.
Paphitis says: “I’ve often talked about the social barriers I had to address in order to establish myself as a success in business but they are nothing compared to those faced by ex-prisoners looking to start a new life. So often, the issues behind the stats are deeply ingrained and span generations of families who have found it impossible to break this depressing, costly vicious circle.
"I know that giving to prisoners and ex-prisoners isn’t high on many of our agendas but once you start to understand the reasons for re-offending and the hefty cost to the British taxpayer, you begin to understand exactly how important the work of St Giles Trust is.”
Two-thirds of ex-prisoners go on to re-offend, many within weeks of their release from prison, at a cost to the British taxpayer up to £11bn each year. “I’d urge other business owners and anyone else with public influence to get behind this pressing issue,” Paphitis says. “In my view, we can’t afford not to.”
Other speakers at the event included ex-Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers; the former chairman of Diageo and vice-chairman of BT, Sir Anthony Greener; and ex-offenders, who now work for the St Giles Trust.
Glasson says: “We acknowledged the challenge of championing a potentially unpopular cause to a very savvy audience – so we needed a venue and format that would provide a new context. The prison gave a meaningful setting to an important debate and the speakers were highly appropriate for the audience and the message.”