The investment of an initial £195 million has been awarded to 26 organisations across England and Wales to provide vital support services that help reduce reoffending, such as employment and housing advice. This includes over £45 million awarded to services tailored to female offenders to address their specific needs and the underlying causes of their crimes as part of the Government’s pledge to see fewer women go to prison. The total funding awarded could rise to £270 million if contracts with these organisations are extended to their full terms.
By tackling the drivers of crime and getting offenders’ lives back on track, these services will help to prevent thousands of people becoming victims each year and save some of the £18 billion annual cost of repeat offending.
The move is one of the improvements being made to the Probation Service next month as responsibility for supervising low- and medium-risk offenders comes back under public sector control. The delivery of unpaid work in community sentences and behavioural change programmes are also being brought back in-house.
Prisons and Probation Minister Alex Chalk said: “Tackling things like homelessness, unemployment and illiteracy is vital to our drive to cut crime but these issues cannot be solved by our brilliant probation staff alone.“
He continued, “The expertise and support of charities and companies like those we are funding today plays a crucial role in helping offenders to rehabilitate and lead a crime-free life.“
Almost £46 million has been awarded to charities which provide wraparound support to women in the criminal justice system, acknowledging the complex array of issues female offenders particularly face. Organisations including The Nelson Trust, Women in Prison, and a partnership between the St Giles Trust and the Wise Group will work with vulnerable women to help them get their lives back on track. This significant investment provides long-term support to women’s centres and other dedicated services for women serving community sentences or leaving prison.
Prison leavers are around 50 per cent more likely to reoffend if released with nowhere to stay so over £33 million will be shared by charities helping the homeless, including St Mungo’s, Shelter and NACRO. Their work will help get offenders off the streets into stable accommodation and work alongside the Probation Service’s new temporary accommodation service.
A further £33 million has been awarded to companies such as Seetec, Maximus and Ingeus which provide offenders with skills training and employment support. With their expertise in helping people find work they will partner with probation staff and the New Futures Network in the Prison Service to support offenders into jobs.
Up to £118 million has been awarded to organisations which work with offenders to address personal issues, including Catch 22, The Forward Trust and The Growth Company. This ranges from support accessing mental health services to help with managing complex family relationships.
The funding has been awarded through a new process designed to make it easier for charities and other third-sector organisations to access funding from Government and around two-thirds of the funding has been awarded to registered charities. In addition, many lead organisations are using the specialist skills of smaller organisations to help deliver services, with another 50 organisations, mostly in the voluntary sector, in their supply chains.