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2015 Community Awards Winners

All the runners up and winners of the the Howard League for Penal reform’s Community Awards 2015

Winners of the Howard League Community Awards 2015

Policing and adults category

Winner: Project CARA, The Hampton Trust

CARA offers nominated individuals the opportunity to have an insight into the impact of domestic abuse and to identify their own needs for the future.  The use of conditional cautions for domestic abuse offences is the first of its type in the country.  Project CARA is an exemplary model of statutory and third sector agencies bringing their expertise together to trial new approaches.  Hampshire Constabulary has put their trust in The Hampton Trust to write and deliver the workshops whilst Cambridge University have deemed it worthy of a randomised controlled trial.  This is the gold standard in terms of research and is the first of its type both nationally and internationally for testing this approach.

The workshops delivered in the CARA experiment aim to improve the safety of individuals in households where a low severity domestic abuse offence has been identified by the police.  Individuals are directed to the unique workshops designed and delivered by The Hampton Trust.  Focused on increasing awareness of domestic abuse and potential impact on themselves, partners and children, CARA offers participants an opportunity to take action and seek further support appropriate to their personal circumstances.

Women category

Winner: Avert, Lancashire Women’s Centre

Avert is a diversionary project for women offenders designed around the principles of the Corston Report, providing a more proportionate, gender specific and integrated approach to better meet the needs of vulnerable female offenders and to break the cycle of reoffending.  Avert offers an additional tool for police custody staff, supporting them to reduce the ‘revolving door’ of arrest for low level crime amongst vulnerable women and supporting early diversion from the criminal justice system.  Women receive either a mandated referral into the programme (as a Conditional Caution or as part of an Education Penalty Notice Disposal) or through a voluntary referral.

The programme places female caseworkers within the police custody setting, acting as a neutral point of contact.  Working collaboratively with women, a minimum of three sessions are held at their network of centres, which work to create an action plan and identify a person centred package of support from LWC’s in house services to address underlying needs.  This may include counselling, debt advice, employment support, and support for substance misuse or domestic violence.

This pilot project, funded initially from the Rayne Foundation and Lancashire OPCC has supported 274 women to date, and evidencing significant impact in reducing reoffending (currently around 10% of cohort have reoffended).  Funding has now been secured through the Home Office Police Innovation Fund to expand the scheme across Lancashire.

Runner up: Swindon Sex Worker Outreach Project, The Nelson Trust

This outreach service provides structured support to women engaging in street sex working or “survival sex” in Swindon. Its aims are to reduce the risk of harm and to support clients to permanently exit sex working. The project is based in the ISIS Women’s Centre in Swindon.

The project runs a multi-agency forum to share intelligence, identify and prioritise those at highest risk, and collaborate to address those issues which drive sex work: substance misuse, poor mental health, exploitation and abuse, poverty and homelessness. Staff case-manage and co-ordinate multi-agency interventions, and provide a range of health and psycho-social interventions to sex working women.

Those women at high risk are engaged intensively and proactively. There is regular night-time outreach using a van loaned by Wiltshire Constabulary. SWOP also promotes Ugly Mugs, a national scheme improving sex workers’ safety from violent “punters”.

A Conditional Cautioning scheme diverts women from the criminal justice system into ISIS where there is access to specialist support in a trauma-informed and all-female place of safety.  Project staff also help women to report rapes and assaults: they are a model of statutory/VCS partnership.

Restorative Justice category

Winner: Surrey Youth Restorative Intervention, Surrey Youth Support Service and Surrey Police

The Youth Restorative Intervention (YRI) was initiated by Surrey’s Criminal Justice Board in 2011. It is run jointly by Surrey Police and Surrey County Council’s Youth Support Service. It is a pre-court disposal and an alternative to the youth caution /conditional caution and prosecution. With a few exceptions it is the default disposal for young people who are under the age of 18 and admit an offence. The intention of the programme is to prevent reoffending; to repair harm to victims; improve their satisfaction with the criminal justice system and to provide better value for money in the youth justice system. Overall, the initiative seeks to improve the experience of the criminal justice system for all: the victim, the offender, their families and the wider community. Independent external evaluation has demonstrated that the YRI has saved £3 for every £1 spent, it has very high rates of victim satisfaction (85-90%), it has reduced re-offending by 18% and prevented thousands of young people receiving a criminal conviction.

Runner up: Homicide and Serious/Complex Case RJ Team, REMEDI

REMEDI, a voluntary sector organisation has been facilitating RJ services and training since 1996. It has operational bases in 11 counties, 91 employed staff. A dedicated pool of 20 trained and experienced RJ facilitators comprise our Homicide and Serious/Complex Case Team. This pool of highly experienced RJ facilitators are utilised in supporting victims and victim families in murder, manslaughter, death by dangerous driving, rape and sexual assault cases where victims wish to engage with a restorative justice process.

To date:

  • 5 Victims of rape (juvenile offender) have taken part in a restorative process
  • 15 Victims of rape committed (adult offender) have taken part in a restorative process
  • 21 Victims of sexual assault (juvenile offender) have taken part in a restorative process
  • 15 Victims of sexual assault (adult offender) have taken part in a restorative process
  • 6 Victim’s family members of murder/manslaughter/death by dangerous driving (juvenile offender) have taken part in a restorative process
  • 82 Victim’s family members of murder/manslaughter/death by dangerous driving (adult offender) have taken part in a restorative process
  • 144 victims/victim family members of the most serious offences have accessed Restorative Justice.

Policing and Children category

Winner: Blackpool Offender Prevention Team, Lancashire Constabulary and Blackpool Council

The Offender Prevention Team works with young people aged 10 to 17 years old, to reduce the number of first time entrants into the Criminal Justice System. Young people at risk of offending are identified by the Police and allocated to a youth involvement officer. They will conduct one to one sessions on consequences, anger management and others. The workers aim to divert the young person by encouraging them to put their energy into new activities such as climbing and ice skating. Guidance is also given to older young people on seeking employment. The caseworker also provides emotional support to the young person as well as working with the family as a whole. The team has worked with 356 young people since its inception and helped reduce the number of first time entrants into Criminal Justice in Blackpool from 241 per 100,000 in 2010 to 71 per 100,000 in 2014.

Runner up: Justice in a Day, North Wales Police and Community Trust

‘Justice in a Day’ is a unique partnership project developed in 2010 in North Wales by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) in partnership with Clwyd Theatr Cymru (Wales’ leading producing house). It is a dynamic and transformative educational workshop which aims to prevent young people from committing crime, and raise awareness about the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and the effects of crime on offenders, victims and the wider community.

The Police, Youth Justice Service, Magistrates, Courts and other professionals working within the CJS support the professional theatre practitioners in the development of an interactive drama investigating topical issues affecting Year 8/9 students, informing and educating them about the consequences of crime. The project brings together partners and sponsors who have an interest in reducing the number of young people entering the Criminal Justice System. One of our most recent sponsors, Scottish Power Foundation, have utilised their investment to educate young people about the consequences of anti-social behaviour experienced around their electricity sub-stations.

The project aims to:

  • discourage young people from going down the route of criminality
  • provide a means of addressing questions that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to ask
  • consider the consequences of criminal/anti-social actions
  • explore the impact of such behaviour on the offender, victim and the wider community, and the costs associated with such behaviour and actions; and
  • encourage good citizenship.

Since 2010 over 3,000 young people across North Wales have benefitted from ‘Justice in a Day’.

Liaison and Diversion category

Winner: North & North East London Liaison and Diversion Trial Site; Together for Mental Wellbeing; Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust; East London NHS Foundation Trust; and North East London NHS Foundation Trust

The North & North East London Liaison and Diversion trial site, commissioned by NHS England, serves a population of 2.5million.  It aims to ensure that vulnerable people in contact with the criminal justice system have access to mental health practitioners at the earliest opportunity, so that they are supported and their needs are accounted for in decisions made by criminal justice staff.

Specialist practitioners conduct assessments on a broad range of vulnerabilities including mental health, drug and alcohol use, learning disability and personality disorder in both court and police custody settings.  Practitioners across the four organisations work together to ensure that offenders have access to secondary care services following assessment and are supported to engage with appropriate community mental health support.  In addition, community support workers help service users to engage with local services, with a particular emphasis on reaching women, BME groups, children and young people (including those transitioning to adulthood and involved in gangs).

The site aims to improve health and justice outcomes for adults and children who come into contact with the youth and criminal justice systems, where a range of complex needs and vulnerabilities may be factors in their offending behaviour.

Runner up: Mental Health Treatment Requirement Demonstration Site, Milton Keynes; Milton Keynes Probation Service; St Andrew’s Healthcare; and P3 Charity

The service provides a bespoke wraparound link working service, along with psychological interventions for clients given a Mental Health Treatment Requirement (MHTR) as part of a Community Order.  The mental health and learning disability needs of service users are not being met by statutory main stream services which has resulted in the offending behaviour of many service users not being addressed.  This service is designed to improve client’s mental health, wellbeing, coping skills and social adjustment with a view to reduce re-offending.

This clinical forensic psychology led service is operated by St Andrew’s Healthcare and delivers short term evidence based cognitive behavioural interventions for individuals sentenced to an MHTR.  The treatment sits within the link working service operated by the social inclusion charity P3, which provides practical support to individuals enabling access to a wide variety of social care support.  The link worker element of the service promotes MHTR engagement and provides social integration and stability that further reduces the likelihood of re-offending.

Criminal Justice Champion

Winner: Peter Atherton and Matthiew Kidd, Community Led Initiatives

Peter and Matt founded Community Led Initiatives (CLI), a social enterprise that supports people leaving a life of crime. CLI epitomises grass roots work and social action. Pete and Matt have both been in trouble with the law and have rebuilt their lives. They embody the hope of these awards in being living examples of diversion and desistance. Matt had a life of serious drug addiction, which culminated in offending. Pete was in and out of prison from the age of 14 for over 20 years. They set up CLI in 2010 after struggling to find employment. They wanted to create a space in society in which they could be the men they wanted to be, and could support others wanting the same. They began by working alongside probation and the police to mentor priority prolific offenders. Five years on, alongside 1-1 mentoring, they also support other socially excluded people into employment, help the families of people with addiction to support them in recovery, run support groups for people trying to get out of addiction and run residential courses for youngsters at risk of offending.

Runner up: Phillippa Tibbetts, West Yorkshire CRC

Pip has passionately driven the vision for ex-service users to support the organisation as Peer Mentors and volunteers over recent years. She developed an innovative project called The Right Direction Programme in her local area where ex-service users who have been 7 months away from offending can apply, be interviewed and appropriately risk assessed to join a volunteer training programme. Whilst on the programme they work towards achieving their Level 1 Certa accredited Probation Skills certificate.

Pip developed a successful business case to roll out her locally developed programme across the whole of West Yorkshire which would result in bringing a consistent approach to the recruitment and training of ex-service users as volunteers and peer mentors across the organisation.

Pip’s dedication to finding innovative methods to engage service users in how we design and deliver services has resulted in a significant cultural change in how probation service employees view the talents of ex-service users. There is now a distinct recognition of the importance of ex-service user volunteers in reducing reoffending and a drive to increase the numbers of ex-service users able to work for our organisation as paid employees.

Runner up: Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, Greater Manchester Police

Garry’s passion for justice, fairness, resolution and restoration has led him to lead a number of key work streams both nationally and within Greater Manchester Police to achieve significant change in the way the system deals with anti-social behaviour and low-level crime.

Garry is the GMP and National Lead for Restorative Justice and has pioneered a number of initiatives to help divert offenders away from the criminal justice system. In line with Garry’s vision of a restorative society, restorative justice is now fully embedded within the working practices of GMP. He has been instrumental in ensuring that victims have their voice heard and are able to meet with offenders to tell them exactly how they have been affected by a crime, both of which have resulted in a significant reduction in reoffending rates within GMP.

Garry has challenged GMP to reduce its numbers of remanded young people, looking at internal process around times of arrest, early bail decisions and working with the local authorities to explore bail options. This has reduced numbers by nearly 50 per cent. Knowing the negative impact on health and wellbeing that custody has on young people, it is believed this approach will significantly reduce the health risk to them.

Find out more about the Community Awards

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