2021 Community Awards Winners
The Howard League Community Awards were presented at an online event on 19 October 2021.
Winners and Commendations by category
Open Mentoring Project – The Women’s Centre Cornwall
The Women’s Centre Cornwall received the award for its Open Mentoring project, which supports women who have been involved in crime or may be at risk of becoming involved in crime. It gives a diverse group of volunteer mentors, who have faced and overcome challenges, the chance to inspire other women to move forward with their lives. All are trained in understanding trauma.
Womens’ Pathfinder – Future 4 (Safer Wales, Llanmau, Include and G4S)
Future 4 is a group of organisations, Safer Wales, Llanmau, Include and GAS, working across South Wales who support people away from the criminal justice system. Women’s Pathfinder Whole System Approach (WSA) provides diversion, early intervention, and targeted support to women in the criminal justice system.
The WSA teamwork alongside women and help them to review choices and consequences, reset personal goals; supporting people to understand the strengths that they have to overcome barriers and to take opportunities so that they can move forward more confidently and without further involvement with criminal justice.
The service was launched in October 2019 and is jointly commissioned by the Gwent and South Wales Police and Crime Commissioners, Welsh Government and HMPPS in Wales.
Recourse – Lancashire Women in partnership with Lancashire Constabulary
Lancashire Women deliver diversionary opportunities for women offenders in partnership with Lancashire Constabulary. The aim is to improve outcomes for women in Lancashire who may be facing multiple and complex issues, for example homelessness, poor emotional wellbeing, experiences of trauma and abuse – including sex work. Lancashire Women work to reduce the risk of reoffending or try to prevent the criminalisation of women through seeking to increase the use of community sentencing options for females and trying to understand and address the underlying causes of offending.
Policing and children
REBOOT, Early Intervention Youth Programme – Office of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner
The early intervention diversionary programme has supported almost 1,200 young people in its first two years of operation, with statutory services, private organisations and community groups working together to reduce the risk of them becoming involved in crime.
Creative One-to-One Early Intervention Projects – Synergy Theatre Project
21 to support over 40 vulnerable young people in 6-week-long creative one-to-one projects. Many of the young people had come to police notice for the first time this year.
The programme was entirely tailored to suit individual needs, with young people working with professional lead artists and ex-prisoner support facilitators for 6-weeks working on a creative project of their choice, focusing on spoken word, playwriting, acting or song writing according to their preference and exploring themes and issues relevant to them. Specific issues that arose included: being the perpetrator and/or victim of criminal offences, knife crime, immigration issues, child sexual exploitation, drug use, domestic violence, online bullying and online grooming, and manipulation by gangs and county lines. Young people were in control of shaping the work and presented it at a final sharing to an invited audience at the end of their project.
Calderdale Early Action Team – West Yorkshire Police
The Calderdale Early Action Team in West Yorkshire Police work to deter young people from criminal and harmful behaviour. Their intervention work tries to reduce the risk factors and increase the protective factors in a child’s life. The team try to highlight the consequences of the particular paths the young people are going down. For example, showing the young person if they choose to be involved with criminal activities, they are more likely to limit their future social and economic opportunities and increase the likelihood of mental and physical health problems along with substance misuse and increase the chance of exploitation or abuse.
The team identify emerging issues and contact the correct partners and services with the right skills to enable a holistic approach of tackling the problems upstream before the problem escalates and becomes impossible to fix.
Policing and adults
Cleveland Divert – Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland
The scheme seeks to reduce Cleveland’s high reoffending rates by addressing the behaviour of adults who have become involved in crime for the first time and diverting them towards support, away from the criminal justice system.
Employment Pathway – The Recruitment Junction
The Recruitment Junction is the North East’s first recruitment agency for people with convictions. Their Employment Pathway is a diversionary scheme, guiding people away from the criminal justice system. The schemes rehabilitative approach has had long term gains for individuals, their family, and the wider community. By supporting people into gainful employment, the risk of reoffending decreases and the quality of life improves.
DIVERT – Cranstoun
Cranstoun Divert is a drug diversion service, deliverable as a community resolution or conditional caution. The service aims to deter people from the criminal justice system at the earliest opportunity. Divert offers police officers an alternative to arrest with access to meaningful interventions aimed at reducing harm and offending and hopes to contribute to a culture change in policing – ensuring a health-based approach is taken over a criminal conviction.
The Divert programme developed by Cranstoun is an education programme aiming to divert drug users from long term drug use. It is available to anyone, young people and adults, found in possession of any illicit substance.
Liaison and diversion
Browns Intensive Support Services – Browns Community Services CIC
The community-based service supports single adults and couples with multiple complex needs, including those who are at risk of offending or re-offending. The service supports clients who have significant challenging behaviours including a history of causing harm to themselves and others and of not engaging successfully with other services. This is a partnership project with The Safer Slough and Thames Valley Police.
Hub & Spoke Model: Supported Housing – The Well Communities CIC
The Well Communities offer a 28-bed peer-led, quasi-residential supported housing project supporting Cumbria’s most vulnerable and marginalised individuals. Presenting problems include history of offending, substance misuse, social exclusion, isolation, dual diagnosis, poor physical health, mental health difficulties, eating disorders, BBV’s, and an inability to manage self-care. People come into the Housing project from all walks of life from professional people who have experienced problems in their home and work life to prolific offenders straight out of jail. The Recovery Program typically lasts 6 to 12 months but can change dependent on the needs of the individual.
Residents are expected to engage in a fully structured program that not only includes the 12 Step Recovery program but also involves activities of daily living, budgeting and regular exercise. Later on in the program, they are encouraged to engage in voluntary work, training or education, and other activities or courses aimed at removing barriers to meaningful employment.
Children in care and care leavers
SWITCH – Sussex Police
Sussex Police received the award for for its Switch intervention programme. The project provides independent mentoring for young care leavers aged 17 to 25, who may be involved in violent crime, victims of exploitation or on the periphery of criminality and victimisation and at risk of entering the criminal justice system.
A Protocol for London: Reducing Criminalisation of Looked after Children and Care Leavers – MOPAC
MOPAC’s, the Mayors Office for Policing and Crime, core function is to secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective MPS, and to hold the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to account for the exercise of their functions. MOPAC also oversees police and criminal justice system performance, the budget environment, and the implementation of policies set out in MOPAC’s Police and Crime Plan (PCP). MOPAC must challenge and scrutinise the capital’s entire criminal justice system to: improve crime prevention; seek swift and sure justice for victims; and reduce re-offending rates.
The Mayor made a commitment in the current PCP to protect those young Londoners at highest risk of becoming offenders, implementing a shared approach between the MPS, youth offending teams and children’s services to prevent crime and reduce the arrest and charge rate of looked after children in children’s homes and foster placements. The published Reducing Criminalisation of Looked After Children and Care Leavers Protocol, responds to this commitment. The protocol outlines the roles and responsibilities of each criminal justice partner and agency involved in the care of looked-after children and care leavers up to the age of 18, in reducing unnecessary criminalisation.
Children & Community Resilience: Youth Justice Partnership and Children in Care Team – North Lincolnshire Council
The Youth Justice Partnership and Children in Care Team from North Lincolnshire Council is a partnership working to reduce offending by children in care. In response to the National Protocol published in 2018, a Joint Protocol for Reducing Criminalisation of Children in Care and Care Leavers in North Lincolnshire was developed. The protocol outlines North Lincolnshire’s commitment to ensure children in care are not overly represented in the youth justice system, all services have signed up to this protocol and there has been positive outcomes for children as a result. Partnership working and collaboration has been key to achieving the successful outcomes for the young people involved in their services, there are links with the police and a local care home Kingfisher lodge.
Manchester YOUTH Restorative Programme – REMEDI: Restorative Services
The partnership between the Manchester Youth Justice Service and Remedi has existed for over a decade – this specific project has been operating for 2 years to use restorative practices and restorative justice to divert young people from the criminal justice system effectively.
‘Dyslexia Behind Bars II’ – The Cascade Foundation
Over the last seven years, the Cascade Foundation’s projects have included custodial learning, transitional houses for newly released prisoners, schools and special units for children with neurodiversity, head injury and other learning disabilities with the restorative approach. This has changed the lives of 6,000 people within the community.
The Cascade Foundation has been committed to supporting schools, training providers and prison settings to adopt a restorative approach. They developed four courses to empower the individuals with their dyslexia, head injury and other learning difficulties by helping them to be able to practice changing minds. Their aim is to help individuals take responsibility for their own actions.
Restorative approaches were adopted into daily practices of teaching, peer-mentoring and coaching, supporting emotional and social development by using multi-sensory skills. This enabled the individuals to have a better understanding of their own disability with problem solving giving them the ability to manage their conflict when it occurs.
Criminal Justice Champion
Steve Jones – Remedi Restorative Services
Steven Jones has been with restorative justice charity Remedi for almost 20 years, working as director for much of that time. The charity has expanded its portfolio of services during this period and is now the largest employer of restorative practitioners in Europe, with more than 120 staff and volunteers.
Dr Kate Paradine – Women in Prison
Dr Kate Paradine, Chief Executive of Women in Prison, has been a tenacious and fearless voice campaigning for systemic and policy changes affecting women in the criminal justice system. She has been at the forefront of putting pressure on the government to reverse its decision to build 500 new prison places for women. Alongside key partners, she co-founded a national coalition of women’s centres collectively making the case for sustainable funding for women’s specialist services and for establishing a women’s centre in each local authority area.
Dame Vera Baird QC – Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales
Dame Vera Baird QC has spent her working life fighting injustice. Vera was Solicitor General from June 2007 to May 2010. She was then the first Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Northumbria, elected in 2012 until June 2019 when she took up the position of Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales.
Vera provides a voice for victims; she believes our criminal justice system fails to ensure justice for all victims who need to be put at the centre of what they do. She believes poor communication, insensitive treatment, lack of respect, the victim constantly having to repeat their story and harrowing experiences in the court room are all part of the problem. Many victims regress following their courtroom experience. Vera reflects the experiences of individual victims and translates these experiences into critiques and influence public policy.
Organisation of the year
The Media Academy Cymru (MAC)
Since it was founded in 2010, MAC has guided more than 10,000 children and young people away from the criminal justice system by creating triage diversion programmes in Wales.
NIACRO is a voluntary organisation based in Northern Ireland, which has been working for 50 years to reduce crime and its impact on communities. NIACRO supports children and young people; families affected by imprisonment; and adults in prison and in the community, including those who have been through the justice system and those whose lifestyles may lead to offending behaviour.