Influencing Change in the Criminal Justice Sector: A Community Approach

We’re delighted to announce that we have been awarded £58 000 in funding from Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales to help us make a positive impact on policy and practice in the criminal justice system.

Our project is aiming to influence policy around the importance of improving outcomes for BAME men in prisons to enable them to better engage with their rehabilitation.

The grant will enable us to:

  • evidence the impact of our work through an independent evaluation;
  • develop an ‘Equality Toolkit’ to package our approach so that it can be scaled up and replicated across prisons;
  • Convene a criminal justice system conference to launch the Toolkit
  • Engage policy makers in discussion on equality good practice.

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales has awarded funding to our charity for up to 2 years and 16 other specialist charities and partnerships as part of its new 2020 Criminal Justice National Programme.

The criminal justice system is currently under extreme pressure, facing staff shortages, dangerous levels of overcrowding, assaults and self-harm at record levels, the part-privatisation of probation having comprehensively failed and high rates of reoffending.

Small specialist charities like ours have had huge success in tackling reoffending, helping people turn lives their around and preventing people from falling into a cycle of crime. Yet, despite this expertise and track record, the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) and other specialist charities are still not properly involved in how prisons and the probation service are funded and organised. At the start of this new Government and Parliament there is a clear need and chance to make changes to reform and improve the system.

The Foundation’s programme is supporting the specialist voluntary sector to gather evidence, speak up and use their expertise and understanding to help influence policy and practice across the new probation and wider criminal justice system. Charities funded through the programme are seeking to:

  • make the case for better alternatives to prison, by intervening earlier to prevent crime and reduce the number of people going to prison;
  • improve how groups disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system are treated, such as BAME prisoners, young people and women;
  • Improve how the prison and probation service work, in particular by ensuring that specialist and small charities are properly involved and funded.