Family and friends are often an important source of support, encouragement and inspiration. We know that this support becomes even more important for people in contact with the criminal justice system (CJS) and can be a central part of the desistance process. Research from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) shows that people in prison who receive visits from family members are 39% less likely to reoffend than those who do not. A joint thematic review by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, HM Inspectorate of Probation and Ofsted on resettlement provision for adults in contact with the CJS highlighted that “an offender’s family are the most effective resettlement agency”.
Lord Farmer has supported the voluntary sector to throw a spotlight on the fundamental importance of supporting family ties for people in the CJS. The findings and recommendations of the Farmer Review (published in August 2017) into family relationships for men in the CJS were all accepted by the Ministry of Justice. An update on their work to implement these has just been published. Lord Farmer has now turned his attention to exploring family ties for women in the CJS.
This blog summarises key points from the Ministry of Justice’s work to implement the first review and highlights how you can support Lord Farmer’s current review into women’s family ties.
Implementing the Farmer Review’s recommendations
On Friday 12th October the MoJ and HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) published their progress on the implementation of the 19 recommendations made in the Farmer Review, which you can access here. This work is led via a Family Strategy Working Group chaired by the HMPPS Families lead in partnership with the MoJ Family policy lead and is attended by a Clinks representative.
The progress document details welcome steps that have been taken to implement the report’s recommendations. These include the development of a family policy framework for prison governors and the requirement for all prison governors to produce and publish local strategies that set out how they will support prisoners to improve their level of engagement with their friends and family.
However, we are disappointed that the update document fails to detail the outcomes of the implemented changes, making it challenging to measure success. Clinks will continue to work with the MoJ and HMPPS to ensure the Farmer Review recommendations continue to be prioritised and implemented.
Family ties for women
As announced in the long-awaited Female Offender Strategy, Lord Farmer has been commissioned to investigate how supporting women in contact with the CJS to engage with their families can lower recidivism, aid rehabilitation and assist in addressing intergenerational crime. Clinks is a member of the review’s expert group, alongside other partners including our members Women in Prison, Pact and the Prison Reform Trust.
The follow-on Farmer Review is being carried out by visiting prisons, meeting with women and their families and by issuing a public call for evidence from people and organisations interested in this issue. The review is also bringing together experts from the prison service, probation service and voluntary organisations for a series of roundtable discussions with members of the expert panel who are assisting Lord Farmer.
We need to hear from you
Clinks is leading the review’s call for evidence, which will be used by the expert group in considering the review’s recommendations and will inform the production of a final report that will be submitted to the Ministry of Justice in December 2018.
It is really important that we hear from as many people as possible. There are lots of different ways you can submit evidence to us. If you have lived experience of the criminal justice system please complete the following forms and send them back to our freepost address listed below by Wednesday 7th November.
You can send these surveys freepost to:
FARMER REVIEW WOMENS
Prison Advice and Care Trust
29 Peckham Road
Please contact Lauren Nickolls, Policy Officer, Lauren.Nickolls@clinks.org if you need hard copies. Let her know which survey(s) you need, how many and your postal address.
If you are a voluntary organisation, or someone with particular expertise in this area, please submit your evidence via our survey monkey link, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by Wednesday 7th November.
Nicola Drinkwater is a member of Lord Farmer’s expert group. Please contact her if you have any questions about the call for evidence or the work of the Farmer Review at Nicola.email@example.com
Latest on Twitter
It is imperative that government prioritises and resources the tackling of race inequality in the criminal justice system. It is crucial that voluntary orgs led by and focussed on racially minoritised people are listened to, taken seriously and consulted in these conversations. https://twitter.com/HMIProbation/status/1451073306791223296