Last updated: 16/09/2021 | 15:40
We know how importantly the voluntary sector working in the criminal justice system treats its work and its duty of care to its staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. This is more important than ever as we all try to understand the 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.
This is an unsettling time for everyone and we know there is a lot of fast-changing information which can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate. We have set up this web page to give sector-specific information, collate essential updates and signpost to helpful information from the wider voluntary sector and arts and culture sector. This situation is evolving quickly, so we'll keep this page updated as often as we can. 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 are responding 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 has an online folder with free printable resources prisons can use to create activity packs.
- Fine Cell work has produced over 1,200 products ready to be sent into prison for prisoners to undertake creative needlework.
- The Prisoner Learning Alliance has 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 has created Pact Packets - a collection of downloadable, printable resources to support children, families and prisoners throughout the Coronavirus crisis.
- Khulisa has put together an anxiety and stress management guide containing short exercises everyone can do to manage anxiety in a pandemic.
- Restore Support Network has 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, have 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+).
Have you got an example of how your organisation is responding or adapting your work during the Covid-19 outbreak? Send it to our Communications Officer Isobel Archer and we'll consider it for sharing in Light Lunch, Twitter or on this page.
Advising the Ministry of Justice
Clinks has a process for escalating operational issues directly with HMPPS. We'll update our frequently asked questions as and when information becomes available.
In March 2020, Lucy Frazer, Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice wrote to Clinks CEO Anne Fox on responding to Covid-19 and the voluntary sector. Lucy Frazer wrote, "I wanted to say a huge thank you to Clinks staff and the charities working in criminal justice for their immediate and constructive response to the exceptional circumstances in which we find ourselves." Read the letter here
We have 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 meets regularly and consists 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 addresses regime recovery and regime reform. This includes 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 SIG welcomes suggestions as to how to best support people in the criminal justice system and their families, the support the sector can offer during this time, as well as the support that the sector needs.
The RR3 SIG has 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 has also provided feedback on Exceptional Delivery Models - the pieces of HMPPS operational guidance related to the recovery of services in prisons. Read the latest meeting notes from the SIG here.
For more information on the role of the RR3 and how it works, read our guide.
Header image: Marco Verch