Last updated: 18/08/2022 | 11:24
During the panemic the voluntary sector working in the criminal justice system prioritised its work and its duty of care to its staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. This continues as we all try to understand the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Clinks and the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) are working closely with the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service to make sure your concerns are heard and your knowledge and expertise is able to contribute to the development of solutions in the criminal justcie system as government implements it's Living with COVID19 plan.
While the criminal justice system is looking towards recovery from the pandemic we know that things can change very quickly. This web page exists to give sector-specific information, collate essential updates and signpost to helpful information from the wider voluntary sector and arts and culture sector. We'll keep this page updated as often as we can in response to any changes. We'll also continue to provide updates as needed in our ebulletins, including Light Lunch, and on our Twitter accounts @Clinks_Tweets and @ArtsCJS.
For general information about Covid-19, please see this Gov.uk page, this Gov.wales page and this NHS page.
Our members are resilient and responded to the outbreak in innovative ways. Here are just a few examples of their activity. As always, keep up to date with our members' news in Light Lunch.
- Project 507 created an online folder with free printable resources prisons can use to create activity packs.
- Fine Cell work produced over 1,200 products ready to be sent into prison for prisoners to undertake creative needlework.
- The Prisoner Learning Alliance created an In-cell Activity Hub with a collection of creative, unique resources for prison staff and Prison Education Framework providers to download and print.
- Pact created Pact Packets - a collection of downloadable, printable resources to support children, families and prisoners throughout the Coronavirus crisis.
- Khulisa put together an anxiety and stress management guide containing short exercises everyone can do to manage anxiety in a pandemic.
- Restore Support Network launched a emergency Covid-19 helpline (0300 102 1032) for the over 60s in prison with underlying health and social care needs and nearing their release date.
- GamCare, who support people with gambling problems, developed an in-cell activity pack, focused on gambling awareness and wellbeing messages. This can be printed off for men and women in prison (18+).
Clinks thinks the voluntary sector working in criminal justice must be recognised as a vital resource to support the criminal justice system's response to and recovery from Covid-19.
What Clinks is doing
Monitoring the impact of COVID19 on the voluntary sector in criminal justice
During the pandemic, Clinks collected information about how voluntary organisations working in the criminal justice system in England and Wales were faring. Our research gave us real cause for concern. As organisations continued to support people in these extraordinary times their resilience is being tested to the extreme. They had to make difficult choices as they reckoned with the disruptive impact of the pandemic on their services, dramatically increased need among the people they support and significant financial pressure. Read our report here.
Frequently asked questions
How are prisons operating under the governments' living with COVID19 plan?
HMPPS has exited the National Framework for the management of COVID19 in prisons and ended COVID-19 command mode and returned to management mode. This means the Prison COVID Gold Command team has stood down and decision-making returns locally and to the management line.
The probation service is no longer operating under the Probation COVID19 Roadmap and is now operating under the probation target operating model.
Support with managing COVID-19 outbreaks will remain available to Governors and their teams, should it be needed via a dedicated HMPPS Covid-19 National Operations Team. Should an outbreak occur, arrangements for reintroducing COVID-19 controls will be decided at site level, informed by health advice and local risk assessments. Voluntary organisations are advised to check with their prison colleagues locally for advice on the specific requirements in place.
As part of the Government’s ‘Living with Covid-19' plan for England, prisons are included in the list of vulnerable settings where testing will continue under certain circumstances. From 31 May 2022 voluntary testing of staff, prisoners and visitors to prisons in England and Wales will continue in high-risk areas as determined by prison governors using risk assessments and local health advice. Risk assessments will cover both directly and non-directly employed staff. This means that staff working in areas that have not been assessed as requiring targeted testing will no longer be asked to undertake routine asymptomatic testing. HMPPS expect that most staff will not need to routinely undertake asymptomatic testing. Additionally, those who do not regularly work in the prison and community-based staff visiting prisons will no longer be required to test before going into an establishment. If you attend a prison regularly and work in an area that the Governor has assessed to be high-risk, you may be asked to take a test, but this will be voluntary, and the prison will provide the test kit. HMPPS continue to ask that if you are positive or have symptoms of Covid-19, that you follow the latest Government advice and that you do not attend the prison.
Advising the Ministry of Justice
During the pandemic we set up a Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group (RR3) special interest group (SIG) on Covid-19 to formally channel policy discussions and suggestions into The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and HMPPS. The group met regularly and consisted of the existing RR3 membership, plus additional voluntary sector colleagues who have been co-opted to the group for their specialist expertise.
The Covid-19 SIG addressed regime recovery and regime reform. This included an update from officials, such as the number of prison outbreaks, the progress of vaccinations and how many prisons have progressed to different stages of the National Framework.
The RR3 SIG submitted two evidence papers to the MoJ and HMPPS. The first is focussed on the long-term recovery of voluntary sector services in the criminal justice system and the second explores the financial sustainability of the voluntary sector working in the criminal justice system. The SIG also provided feedback on Exceptional Delivery Models - the pieces of HMPPS operational guidance related to the recovery of services in prisons. Read the notes from the SIG's meetings here.
For more information on the role of the RR3 and how it works, read our guide.
Header image: Marco Verch
How to get involved with the Clinks group that advises the Ministry of Justice
Notes from the member advisory forum meeting
Latest on Twitter
We have published our annual report and financial statements 2021-22. The report sets out our activities, achievements this year and plans for future work towards our strategic goals. Read the full report here: https://bit.ly/3iMbdX7
DateTuesday 13 June
DateWednesday 21 June
Other sources of support
The Charity Commission's Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector
The World Health Organisation's interim guidance: Preparedness, prevention and control of COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention
NCVO guidance: Your organisation and coronavirus
Civil Society News has collated advice for charities dealing with Covid-19
Homeless Link has a Covid-19 and homelessness web page. They are also hosting a weekly webinar.
Mind's guidance on coronavirus and your wellbeing
Collective Voice has published resources for substance misuse treatment services
Money Saving Expert's Coronavirus financial help and rights
Volunteering Matters is matching private sector volunteers with charities who need support
NPC's How philanthropists should respond to coronavirus
Charity Bank has a Covid-19 resource hub for charities and social enterprises
The Race Equality Foundation has published Coronavirus information and resources
The Youth Work Support website brings together advice, guidance, support and tools for youth workers, young people and organisations during the pandemic.
Young Minds has information and resources for looking after your mental health while self-isolating
Covid-19 guidance for Community Interest Companies
ACEVO's coronavirus webpage
Charity Finance Group's practical guide for charity finance professionals
NPC's Data on the Covid-19 crisis for charities and funders
Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance is collating resources for arts practitioners and organisations
Arts Professional's CovidCulture
COVID-19 and Freelance Artists (scroll down to see UK-specific resources)
Beyond Words' Covid-19 secure environments resource kit for people who find pictures more accessible than words
Charities Aid Foundation's survive, adapt, thrive resources for charities during Covid-19