A window with a grate over it, looking out onto some trees

Beyond bars

Maximising the sector’s contribution in criminal justice

In this piece we outline our findings from research into the role of charities in the criminal justice sector.

We have found that there is a window of opportunity for cultural change in the criminal justice system. Prisons are under pressure, reoffending rates remain high, and charities are struggling to access service users in need.

The voluntary sector’s contribution to criminal justice matters now more than ever.

The unique role of the charities in the criminal justice system

Voice, scope, assets, independence, central relationship

Meanwhile, government have proposed a new policy agenda that puts rehabilitation at the heart of prisons’ purpose. The crucial question is: how will they achieve it?

The system relies on the work charities do daily to reduce crime and rehabilitate offenders. But criminal justice charities are not adequately supported to fulfil their role in prison and probation reform.

We risk losing a valuable resource to society; it cannot be taken for granted that charities will always be there to pick up the slack.

On the basis of this research, we make several suggestions for how funders, commissioners and government, and charities themselves can work to overcome these issues and maximise the voluntary sector’s value-add in the criminal justice sector.

  • Let us know what you think via @NPCthinks and #CriminalJustice.
  • NPC are undertaking more research in this area. If you would like to discuss this research, or any future work with us, do get in touch via info@thinkNPC.org.