Clinks response: lessons from coronavirus
A response to the House of Lords Public Services Committee inquiry
Clinks submitted evidence to the House of Lords Public Services Committee inquiry on lessons from coronavirus. The response focuses on the criminal justice response to Covid-19 and the impact on the voluntary sector in criminal justice. We outline the ways in which the sector has adapted to Covid-19 restrictions, the challenges it has been facing delivering support to people in contact with the criminal justice system, and the impact of Covid-19 on the sustainability of the sector.
Our response highlights issues with historic underfunding and siloed working in the criminal justice system which has affected its ability to respond to this crisis, damaged relationships between local partners and made communication and joint working with the voluntary sector more challenging to achieve. In particular we focus on the impact of austerity and severe lack of housing for people in the criminal justice system which for years has been pushing more into poverty and has made it more challenging to access accommodation for prison leavers during this time.
Our recommendations include for the government to establish further funding to support voluntary sector organisations to stabilise the voluntary sector and support its long-term sustainability, with a specific grant programme for voluntary organisations working in criminal justice; for the government to make greater use of sustainable grant funding over contracts to enable the voluntary sector to play its full role in the delivery of services in the aftermath of the pandemic; and for the Ministry of Justice to develop and lead a cross-departmental accommodation strategy.