Last updated: 18/08/2022 | 11:24
During the panemic the voluntary sector working in the criminal justice system prioritised its work and its duty of care to its staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. This continues as we all try to understand the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Clinks and the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) are working closely with the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service to make sure your concerns are heard and your knowledge and expertise is able to contribute to the development of solutions in the criminal justcie system as government implements it's Living with COVID19 plan.
While the criminal justice system is looking towards recovery from the pandemic we know that things can change very quickly. This web page exists to give sector-specific information, collate essential updates and signpost to helpful information from the wider voluntary sector and arts and culture sector. We'll keep this page updated as often as we can in response to any changes. We'll also continue to provide updates as needed in our ebulletins, including Light Lunch, and on our Twitter accounts @Clinks_Tweets and @ArtsCJS.
Our members are resilient and responded to the outbreak in innovative ways. Here are just a few examples of their activity. As always, keep up to date with our members' news in Light Lunch.
- Project 507 created an online folder with free printable resources prisons can use to create activity packs.
- Fine Cell work produced over 1,200 products ready to be sent into prison for prisoners to undertake creative needlework.
- The Prisoner Learning Alliance created an In-cell Activity Hub with a collection of creative, unique resources for prison staff and Prison Education Framework providers to download and print.
- Pact created Pact Packets - a collection of downloadable, printable resources to support children, families and prisoners throughout the Coronavirus crisis.
- Khulisa put together an anxiety and stress management guide containing short exercises everyone can do to manage anxiety in a pandemic.
- Restore Support Network launched a emergency Covid-19 helpline (0300 102 1032) for the over 60s in prison with underlying health and social care needs and nearing their release date.
- GamCare, who support people with gambling problems, developed an in-cell activity pack, focused on gambling awareness and wellbeing messages. This can be printed off for men and women in prison (18+).
Advising the Ministry of Justice
During the pandemic we set up a Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group (RR3) special interest group (SIG) on Covid-19 to formally channel policy discussions and suggestions into The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and HMPPS. The group met regularly and consisted of the existing RR3 membership, plus additional voluntary sector colleagues who have been co-opted to the group for their specialist expertise.
The Covid-19 SIG addressed regime recovery and regime reform. This included an update from officials, such as the number of prison outbreaks, the progress of vaccinations and how many prisons have progressed to different stages of the National Framework.
The RR3 SIG submitted two evidence papers to the MoJ and HMPPS. The first is focussed on the long-term recovery of voluntary sector services in the criminal justice system and the second explores the financial sustainability of the voluntary sector working in the criminal justice system. The SIG also provided feedback on Exceptional Delivery Models - the pieces of HMPPS operational guidance related to the recovery of services in prisons. Read the notes from the SIG's meetings here.
For more information on the role of the RR3 and how it works, read our guide.
Header image: Marco Verch