Clinks Thinks | Criminal justice policy and the voluntary sector
This pamphlet sets out the key policy issues raised by Clinks members, and the main issues on which Clinks advocates for change. Download Clinks Thinks here
Involving the voluntary sector
Clinks thinks the voluntary sector’s role as both a crucial designer and provider of services should be recognised through increasingly open engagement. The voluntary sector’s role as a campaigner should be protected, allowing it to speak freely on behalf of service users and communities.
Clinks thinks the Government should do more to bring desistance theory into the heart of policy making and service delivery. Policy and practice should be person-centred, acknowledge that people need long-term support, and that relapse can sometimes be part of the journey to rehabilitation.
Listening and responding to people with lived experience
Clinks thinks the Ministry of Justice, commissioners, and service providers should prioritise the involvement of service users to inform policy and practice. Where possible this should be conducted by a neutral party who is able to talk and listen to service users with total impartiality.
Reducing cost and saving money
Clinks thinks the Ministry of Justice should develop a clear strategy for reducing the number of people in prison by increasing investment in preventative services, diverting more people away from the Criminal Justice System into appropriate services, and rolling out alternatives to custody. This should be supported by piloting the devolution of responsibility and budgets to local areas.
Multiple and complex needs
Clinks thinks services require better local coordination for people with multiple and complex needs. Decision makers, commissioners, and service providers should use learning from the Making Every Adult Matter coalition to assist better service design and delivery.
A different approach for women
Clinks thinks the National Offender Management Service and probation providers should expand the quantity and ensure the quality of gender-specific services for women. This must include working alongside magistrates, the Crown Prosecution Service, and defence solicitors to encourage the use of more effective community sentences.
Preventing youth custody
Clinks thinks that the youth justice system needs to remain focussed on reducing the use of custody, increasing the use of early intervention and diversion, providing a locally owned and multi-agency approach to all services. A national strategy to address the various causes of overrepresentation of black, Asian and minority ethnic young people in the youth justice system needs to be produced and published.
Young adults as a distinct group
Clinks thinks the Ministry of Justice should utilise the evidence gathered by the Transitions to Adulthood Alliance to produce a national strategy for the management of young adults aged 18- 25 in the Criminal Justice System. This needs to promote a distinct approach to young adults and design services, based on evidence and service user consultation, which support desistance from crime.
Support for children and families
Clinks thinks that services working with the families of people in the Criminal Justice System should be supported by a clear governmentwide strategy, enabling consistent and specialist support on issues such as children’s wellbeing, debt, housing and maintaining healthy relationships in custody and post-release.
Tackling racial disproportionality
Clinks thinks the recommendations of the Young Review outline how to improve outcomes for young black and Muslim men in the Criminal Justice System. These should form the basis of a more comprehensive strategy that tackles racial discrimination and disproportionality.
Health and wellbeing
Clinks thinks that the Ministry of Justice and Department of Health should give a high priority to addressing the health needs of people in contact with the Criminal Justice System.
Clinks thinks volunteering should be championed by government departments and providers should involve the voluntary sector to develop sustainable community involvement in vital public services.
Creativity and inspiration are vital
Clinks thinks the Ministry of Justice and the Arts Council should develop a joint strategy to support the arts within criminal justice settings.
Published: December 2015