Every day, thousands of passionate and committed people give their time to engage and motivate people in the criminal justice system, working hard to turn their lives around. Volunteers add expertise, capacity and flexibility to services, working in a wide range of roles, People with lived experience also volunteer. They provide valuable advice on what works, and offer peer support. From our State of the sector research we estimate that, on average, there are two volunteers for every member of staff in voluntary organisations working in criminal justice.
Volunteering is not free. It requires ongoing investment to provide the management, coordination and training required to ensure volunteers provide quality services. When this is in place, volunteers are a hugely valuable asset for the voluntary sector. They provide increased capacity, expertise and experience to organisations. The fact that they are volunteers gives them a unique role because, for some people in the criminal justice system, volunteers are the first people who have listened to them who are not being paid to do so. This fact alone can have a considerable positive impact on individuals.
The voluntary sector has a long tradition of recruiting, training and managing committed and passionate local people as volunteers.
For over a century, volunteers have been supporting rehabilitation and resettlement in prisons, providing an important link between prisons and communities.
Our State of the sector research shows that volunteers provide essential support to organisations. On average, people volunteer for twelve hours a week. Volunteers undertake a variety of roles to support organisations, the majority of which involve providing direct support to people in the criminal justice system. 58% of organisations state their volunteers befriend or mentor people, whilst 44% give advice, information or counselling. The majority, 64%, of organisations say that their volunteers help them to run activities or events.
Are you looking for organisations involving volunteers? Browse our Directory of offender services
Read Clinks case studies showcasing the innovative work of our members who involve volunteers.
Advising the Ministry of Justice
Clinks provides the chair and secretariat for an advisory group to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). The Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group’s (RR3) purpose is to build a strong and effective partnership between the voluntary sector and the MoJ.
An RR3 special interest group explored how to provide effective mentoring for men and women resettling in the community after a prison sentence. It considered the role and contribution of the voluntary sector in pioneering this approach, and the impact of the current commissioning and contracting arrangements and funding on the sector’s ability to deliver effective mentoring. It also looked at what is happening to mentoring through the prison gate, the challenges and barriers to effective delivery and consistent outcomes.