Beyond Bars: Maximising the Voluntary Sector's Contribution in Criminal Justice

Published: Mar 2017

Grace Wyld, James Noble

The authors 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. 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 fulfill 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, the authors 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.