Research has shown close ties between prisoners and key family members can significantly reduce the risk of reoffending – which costs society £15billion every year.
In a landmark review published today Lord Farmer has identified family as the “golden thread” running through the reforms across the prison estate.
In September 2016 Lord Farmer, in partnership with the membership charity Clinks, was commissioned by the Government to investigate how connecting prisoners with their families can improve offender wellbeing, assist in keeping the public safe and reduce reoffending.
Lord Farmer said:
“My report is not sentimental about prisoners’ families, as if they can, simply by their presence, alchemise a disposition to commit crime into one that is law abiding.
“However, I do want to hammer home a very simple principle of reform that needs to be a golden thread running through the prison system and the agencies that surround it. That principle is that relationships are fundamentally important if people are to change.”
The Ministry of Justice has already started developing a strategy which will take forward recommendations from the review.
Progress is being made on a number of the recommendations, including giving governors the budget and flexibility to spend their resources appropriately in order to help prisoners keep important family ties.
Alongside this the Government has started piloting significant relationship performance measures which will provide crucial guidance to deliver more consistent services in areas such as visitations across the entire prisons estate.
The recommendations have been welcomed by Justice Secretary David Lidington who has set out his commitment to creating calm and ordered prison environments to deliver more effective rehabilitation.
Speaking today, he echoed Lord Farmer’s view that family relationships are essential to reducing reoffending.
Justice Secretary David Lidington said:
“Families can play a significant role in supporting an offender and I am grateful to Lord Farmer for his dedication and research on this important issue.
“We are committed to transforming prisons into places of safety and reform and we recognise the need to provide those in our care with stable environments, and opportunities to change their behaviour.
“There are numerous examples of good practice in this area, and we will continue work on a strategy to best support offender needs. That has to start with the numbers of prison officers available to support offenders which is why we are increasing staffing number by 2,500.”
Lord Farmer’s review reflects on progress that has been made in this area over recent years, with many prisons already having defined programmes which puts family relationships at the centre.
Innovative schemes and partnerships with local organisations are also vital vehicles for preparing men for release, and there are already proven partnerships in this area such as Storybook Dads, who help fathers keep in contact with their children, and Partners of Prisoners, who work with prisons to deliver more welcoming visitor environments.
Clinks CEO & Deputy Chair of the Farmer Review, Anne Fox said:
“The Farmer Review listened to over 1,000 men in prison and their families, voluntary organisations across the UK, prison staff and academics.
“The review concludes that quality family services will help people turn away from crime and it will support families to cope. Voluntary organisations have pioneered best practice for decades and now is the time to spread it far and wide.”
The Government has secured an additional £100 million a year investment for an extra 2,500 prison officers. With the increasing numbers of prison officers there will be more time available to directly supervise offenders, provide one-to-one support and increase the number of visits.
This, alongside the creation of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, will put offender management at the centre of our reform agenda and create a necessary cultural change, bringing with it stability and security - and ultimately reducing the risk of reoffending.
Please find below the link to the newest edition of the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner’s Magazine for your information. We would be most grateful if you would circulate to your colleagues and networks on behalf of Ron Hogg.
New Advocacy Service **Current**
Advocacy Centre North (part of Newcastle CVS) has just launched an exciting new service to provide a voice for vulnerable people. The new Partners for Justice Advocacy service which is funded for a year by the Office of the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, will provide support for victims of crime experiencing mental ill-health across County Durham and Darlington and will support and guide victims through the criminal justice system.
Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims Commissioner (PCVC) is committed to putting services in place that assist and enable people to cope and recover from the impact of the crime, to help them regain control of their lives.
Ron said: “Being a victim of crime can impact on many aspects of an individual’s life. While the level of impact will vary depending on the type of crime and an individual’s personal circumstances, victims of crime with mental health needs are deemed to be significantly more likely to report adverse effects than the general population or people with other types of disability.
“That’s why I am delighted to appoint Advocacy Centre North to provide this specialised service across County Durham and Darlington.”
The new service is not intended to replace existing services, but will enhance support to those with mental health needs.
Jacqui Jobson, Director of Advocacy Centre North, said: “Advocacy Centre North is delighted to be part of this service in County Durham and Darlington. We welcome the pioneering approach by Ron and his team and their willingness to work with vulnerable victims of crime. We support vulnerable people each day to help them have a voice, access services and know their rights.
“Recent work has shown that victims of crime with mental health needs are particularly disadvantaged within both society and the criminal justice system. Our service aims to help them understand the situation they face, weigh up their choices, make decisions, have their voices heard and overcome stigma.”
Information about Advocacy Centre North and how to make a referral to the new services is available at: www.advocacycentrenorth.org.uk
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|With the upcoming “Wedding Season”, and for those individuals who are considering making plans for next year and beyond, you should be aware of the potential risks of fraud involved. |
According to ‘bridesmagazine.co.uk’, in 2017 the average wedding cost spend is approximately £30,111. This will be paid out to multiple vendors, including; photographers, caterers, reception venues and travel companies, to name a few. Many of these services will require booking at least several months in advance and you may be obliged to pay a deposit or even the full balance at the time.
Being aware of the potential risks and following the below prevention advice could minimise the likelihood of fraud:
Paying by Credit Card will provide you with protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, for purchases above £100 and below £30,000. This means that even if a Company goes into liquidation before your big day, you could claim a refund through your Credit Card Company.
Action Fraud has received the first reports of Tech-Support scammers claiming to be from Microsoft who are taking advantage of the global WannaCry ransomware attack.
One victim fell for the scam after calling a ‘help’ number advertised on a pop up window. The window which wouldn’t close said the victim had been affected by WannaCry Ransomware.
The victim granted the fraudsters remote access to their PC after being convinced there wasn’t sufficient anti-virus protection. The fraudsters then installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is actually free and took £320 as payment.
It is important to remember that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number.
Additionally Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication they have with you must be initiated by you.