The people and families who have experience of the criminal justice system are a vital source of intelligence about how to improve services. Listening to and involving people with direct experience of services is widely recognised as an effective way to improve both policy and practice.
Involving these experts by experience is key to the difference we can make in the lives of people in the justice system, both improving the quality and impact of the services on offer and enabling individuals to build a new identity which supports their journey to desistance from crime.
As well as contributing to the design and delivery of services, it is important that people with lived experience of the criminal justice system are able to be involved in strategic decision making. Therefore, it’s important that organisations take proactive steps to recruit higher numbers of people with experience of the criminal justice system, including at senior levels and as trustees. 14% of organisations responding to our State of the sector research told us that they have people with experience of the criminal justice system on their board. Currently, we are working with Unlock – a charity providing information, advice and support for people with convictions - to support our members to increase this.
Voluntary organisations have a long history of pioneering the involvement of people with direct experience of the criminal justice system. Organisations have designed a number of ways to listen to the views of experts by experience and involve them in the design and delivery of services. These approaches amplify people’s voices to make sure the criminal justice system benefits from their insights.
Are you looking for voluntary organisations involving people with experience of the criminal justice system? Browse our Directory of offender services.
Read Clinks case studies showcasing best practice in this area.
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Congratulations from all at Clinks to anyone awarded honours in the Queen's birthday list for paid or voluntary work supporting people in the criminal justice system and/or their families.