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supporting voluntary organisations that work with offenders and their families

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Influencing criminal justice policy

Clinks’ vision is of a vibrant and independent voluntary sector working with informed and engaged partners in the criminal justice system and beyond to transform lives and communities.

  • To help achieve this vision, our work includes a focus on government policy, both at a national and local level, with two aims:
  • To keep members informed about and engaged in the development of criminal justice policy

To ensure that the voluntary sector’s knowledge and expertise in reducing reoffending is represented when policy decisions are made.

Our work to inform public policy is underpinned by a set of core principles which reflect key issues raised by our members and the main issues for which Clinks advocates for change.

Clinks thinks all sectors working in criminal justice should:

  • Value the voluntary sector both as a designer and provider of services.
  • Strengthen the sector's voice, allowing it to speak freely on behalf of service users and communities.
  • Put people at the heart of services. Policy and practice should be person-centred and acknowledge the need for long term support.
  • Reduce the prison population through early intervention, prevention, diversion and alternatives to custody.
  • Implement a distinct approach for women including increased use of gender-specific community services and investment in specialist voluntary organisations.
  • Tackle racism and discrimination by ensuring the needs of black, Asian and minority ethnic people are met. Government should have a comprehensive strategy which gives race equality a central place in criminal justice policy making.
  • Prevent the imprisonment of children. The youth justice system should remain focused on reducing the use of youth custody and must produce a strategy to address why its current approach has failed black, Asian and minority ethnic young people.
  • Involve people with lived experience throughout the criminal justice system to inform policy and practice.
  • Join up services to respond to multiple needs using learning from the Making Every Adult Matter Coalition.
  • Support healthy relationships through a clear government strategy for consistent and specialist services for adults and children in contact with the criminal justice system.
  • Improve health and wellbeing by working across the health and justice systems to prioritise health and wellbeing and continuity of care.
  • Champion volunteering. Government agencies should work with the voluntary sector to create a culture and operating environment which encourages and supports volunteers.
  • Encourage creativity and inspiration by ensuring access to arts activities for people involved in the criminal justice system.

To find out more about these principles and read Clinks' full recommendations on each, download Clinks Thinks | Criminal justice policy and the voluntary sector.

You can also find out more about our other policy resources including briefings, responses to government consultations and discussion papers on our policy resources page.