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supporting voluntary organisations that work with offenders and their families

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Influencing criminal justice policy

Clinks’ vision is of a vibrant and independent voluntary sector working with informed and engaged partners in the Criminal Justice System and beyond to transform lives and communities.

To help achieve this vision, our work includes a focus on government policy, both at a national and local level, with two aims:

  • To keep members informed about and engaged in the development of criminal justice policy
  • To ensure that the voluntary sector’s knowledge and expertise in reducing reoffending is represented when policy decisions are made.

Our work to inform public policy is underpinned by a set of core beliefs:

  • The voluntary sector plays a vital role to support people in the Criminal Justice System to change their lives both in and outside prisons, and has done so for over a century. The sector delivers a vast range of successful interventions and has pioneered a 'desistance' based approach which is flexible and person-centred. It is a crucial partner in the design and delivery of services and should be involved fully to improve the Criminal Justice System.
  • Independence of voice and advocacy is at the heart of the sector’s values, allowing it to speak freely on behalf of service users and communities. For example highlighting and tackling inequalities in the Criminal Justice System, especially in relation to women and Black, Asian and minority ethnic offenders, young people, and increasingly other vulnerable or minority groups.
  • It is essential for effective public service reform that services are shaped by the people who use them. The voluntary sector promotes a number of models for involving 'experts by experience' in order to listen to their views and amplify their voices to make sure the Criminal Justice System benefits from their insights.
  • The most effective way to reduce costs in the Criminal Justice System is to reduce imprisonment  this can be done through early intervention, prevention and alternatives to custody.
  • The voluntary sector recruits, trains and manages committed and passionate local people as volunteers. This provides a bridge between communities and the Criminal Justice System.
  • Creativity and inspiration are vital, arts have a long established history in supporting rehabilitation and resettlement. Evidence shows that engaging in music , theatre and the visual arts can contribute positively towards desistance fro crime.

For a short summary of some of our current priority areas, you can download our pamphlet, Clinks Thinks | Criminal justice policy and the voluntary sector

You can also read our discussion paper, Rehabilitation; what does ‘good’ look like?