Monday, March 23, 2009

'Locked Up Potential', - The Centre for Social Justice publishes it report on Prison Reform

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) today launched its report for Prison Reform. Recognising that the current provision is failing badly, the report widens the debate with proposals for radical change within the Justice System, including the provision of local Community Prison and Rehabilitation Trusts (CPRTs). Modelled on NHS Trusts, the new CPRTs will be given responsibility for the provision of local prisons, the delivery of joined up programmes of rehabilitation and the overall reduction of re-offending within their areas.

For anyone interested in seeing real change and improvements in the reduction of re-offending and the saving of millions of pounds and many thousands of wasted lives, the full report is highly recommended. It can be accessed via the CSJ website at or via the link at the Comment and Opinion section on the right side of this page.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Royal British Legion and Alabare Christain Care - Reducing re-offending by ex- Service Offenders and Homeless Men

The Royal British Legion in Devon has entered into an exciting partnership with Alabare Christian Care to open a small residential half-way house for ex-offenders and homeless men who previously served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces.

Based in Plymouth and supported by other national and local charitable agencies, the home provides a safe and supportive environment for those former service personnel who have, for various reasons, become homeless and caught up in the criminal justice system. With sufficient accommodation for up to 7 residents, the home is setting a standard in enabling individuals to re-establish and forge new lives.

With support from key workers, residents are given the opportunity to work through their various issues, including examples of PTSD, depression, alcohol addiction, family breakup and a lack of personal self-worth. During my visit there today, residents described how, because of their service backgrounds, experiences and understanding, they are able to provide each other with meaningful peer support, yet still take responsibility for their own actions.

Importantly, the very positive outcomes being achieved will not only save mens lives, but also save the country hundreds of thousands of pounds that would otherwise inevitably be spent by the criminal justice system, Department of Health, DWP, Job Centre Plus and Local Authorities. When acknowledging such long-term costs and the increasing price that service men, women and their families are paying whilst serving their country in places such as Afghanistan, the establishment of many more similar homes has surely got to be the way ahead.

Hopefully, such initiatives will in future see increasing contributions of public sector funding, this being in the true spirit of the Government's calls for community based partnerships and innovative alternatives to custody.

In the meantime, more information can be found at the Alabare web site - and press release -

or by contacting: -

The Royal British Legion
Devon County Office
Aldens Business Court
7a Chudleigh Road
Devon EX2 8TS
Tel: 01392 273111

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Brain Cells: Listening to prisoner learners - A New Report

41% of prisoners who fail to complete educational courses say it is due to being moved to another prison. That's just one of the findings in Brain Cells. This new report, published on 5th March 2009, is the result of a survey of prisoners about their experiences of learning in prison. Brain Cells is a collaboration between Prisoners Education Trust, Inside Time, the newspaper for prisoners, and consultants, RBE.

The report can be read at the Prisoners' Education Trust under our Articles and Reports on the left of this page.