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Reducing Reoffending

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) works with local agencies to break the cycle of reoffending.

As part of her role as the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) Deputy Lead on Criminal Justice Efficiency and Effectiveness, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens is committed to bringing together local partners to prevent and reduce reoffending.

“My vision is to build on the strong commitment amongst all partners to prevent offending and driving down reoffending rates to ensure safer communities for local people.”

PCC Sue Mountstevens

The reasons individuals reoffend are often multiple, complex and interlinked. In order to address those reasons and help people to choose a path away from offending, a multi-agency approach is required.

There are two main streams of work:

Resolve

The Resolve board was established in 2018 and brings together a wide range of partners from across Avon and Somerset.

Aims

The board aims to improve how local agencies work together to reduce reoffending and includes Criminal Justice partners such as Avon and Somerset Police, the National Probation Service, the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and prisons.

Statutory agencies such as Local Authorities, The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Public Health England  also sit on the board are responsible for community safety and working with ex-offenders to ensure that they are:

  • Properly housed
  • Can find employment
  • Receive healthcare
  • Helped with their substance use.

The board also includes voluntary sector organisations, victims of crime and ex-offenders to ensure that all key stakeholders take part in the decision-making process.

Ongoing projects

  • Commissioned a review of Integrated Offender Management which identifies the crime and reoffending threats faced by local communities in Avon and Somerset
  • Created a multi-agency hub at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Bristol to improve the coordination of services when releasing offenders
  • Launched a pilot scheme in Bristol Magistrates Court to signpost women to effective support services to suit their needs and offer better information to Magistrates before sentencing
  • Developing plans with Local Authorities to provide an effective challenge to Domestic Abuse perpetrators to change the question from #WhyDidn’tSheLeave to #WhyDidn’tHeStop
  • Exploring ways to change services for female offenders to provide consistency across critical support services.
South West Reducing Reoffending Partnership

The South West Reducing Reoffending Partnership was established in March 2019 and brings together partners from across the South West to support multi-agency work to tackle some of the main causes of reoffending, such as lack of accommodation, access to health services and employment opportunities.

Aims

The Partnership is chaired by PCC Sue Mountstevens and is made up of a range of criminal justice partners, which includes:

  • the South West regional PCCs
  • Ministry of Justice
  • National Probation Service
  • Community Rehabilitation Company
  • NHS
  • Public Health
  • the voluntary sector
  • prisons
  • Police
  • Youth Justice Board
  • the Department of Work and Pensions.

Together, they aim to reduce the frequency and harm of reoffending by adults and children in order to reduce crime and prevent further victims. There is a particular focus on four main priorities:

  1. Reducing short custodial sentences and improving the rehabilitation and resettlement of prison leavers
  2. Women in the Criminal Justice System (CJS)
  3. Children in the CJS
  4. Ex-Service personnel in the CJS

The innovative partnership deliver a number of ambitious projects, including:

Ongoing projects

1. Increasing community sentences that are proven to be more effective at reducing re-offending than short custodial sentences. Improving the rehabilitation and resettlement of prison leavers to enable them to lead a crime free life and prevent the revolving door into prison. This approach focusses on the rehabilitation and resettlement of prison leavers by:

  • Improving prison safety – reducing crime in prisons and improving mental health and behaviour
  • Increasing meaningful and productive activity in prisons to improve the culture of prisons, behaviour of residents and employment prospects
  • Working with statutory and voluntary sector organisations and businesses to increase work and employment opportunities for those leaving prison
  • Working with HMPPS and local and central government to implement an exciting initiative involving prisoners building affordable modular homes at pace in prison workshops for local communities on under-utilised public sector sites to address key societal, economic and cultural issues including affordable housing, reoffending, homelessness and climate change.
  • Working with Local Authorities, criminal justice partners, the voluntary sector and Homelessness Prevention Taskforces to ensure people leaving prison have suitable accommodation
  • Improving the health care transition from prisons to the community, including a successful prison and probation healthcare protocol across all prisons in the South West, which has been adopted nationally, and assists people who are vulnerable due to their health to secure suitable accommodation when they are released from prison
  • Improving the resettlement of men and women from prison back into the community with co-commissioned support at HMPs Exeter and Eastwood Park

2. Women in the Criminal Justice System (CJS)

  • Working with local partnerships and in consultation with the Ministry of Justice to scope a Residential Women’s Centre in the South West as an alternative to custody
  • Ensure statutory and non-statutory organisations are able to engage with women before they are released from prison to support them in the community on release. A dedicated HMP Eastwood Park Coordinator role has been created and co-funded by the Partnership

3. Children in the CJS

  • Reducing violence amongst children as violence against the person accounts for 30% of offending amongst children in the South West
  • Ensuring a child first approach, diverting children away from the CJS where appropriate

4. Ex-service personnel in the CJS

  • Ensuring ex-service personnel and their families receive the right support in the community and prison (with a co-commissioned South West needs assessment

Strategic work

  • Working with the HMPPS on the probation reform programme to ensure good quality services are in place for addressing the needs of people in the CJS
  • Holding events with statutory and non-statutory organisations and people with lived experience across the South West to identify opportunities for promoting and strengthening joined-up partnership working; and to develop proposals to address challenges and barriers (South West Homelessness Prevention webinar July 2020; South West Managing Vulnerability in Partnership: Women webinar November 2020)

Terms of Reference and Delivery Plan

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