Clinks response: life beyond Covid-19
Response to the House of Lords Covid-19 Committee inquiry on life beyond Covid-19
Clinks submitted written evidence to an inquiry by the House of Lords Covid-19 Committee on ‘Life beyond Covid-19’. Our response focuses on the impact of Covid-19 in the criminal justice system and the voluntary sector that works alongside it.
Our response highlights systemic challenges faced by the criminal justice system and the criminal justice voluntary sector which have been exacerbated by Covid-19. These challenges include inconsistency across the criminal justice system and poor communication with the voluntary sector as well as poor commissioning processes that have resulted in complex, bureaucratic and unsustainable contracts which have undermined the ability of voluntary sector organisations to whether this crisis.
We also raise concern that even prior to the pandemic the needs of people in the criminal justice system were becoming increasingly more complex and urgent due to insufficient support on release; austerity measures and welfare reforms pushing people into poverty; and a severe housing crisis.
Our response highlights the need to address these longstanding and systemic issues in the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis in order to build a post-pandemic future with a fairer and more effective criminal justice system. Our response makes a series of recommendations to achieve this including a full and equal partnership between the criminal justice voluntary sector and the government; improving the use of grants and implementing an alternative needs-led model to commissioning which allocates funds based on identified need and quality of service rather than price per head; and ensuring that people have access to sufficient income on release from prison to meet their basic needs by increasing the discharge grant and improving access to bank accounts and welfare.