In response to a call from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner has submitted a bid for £1m of extra government funding to improve the system for offenders leaving prison, and prevent them from re-offending.
The “Local Leadership Integration Fund” forms part of the MoJ’s Prison Leaver Project.
The plan is backed by more than 30 organisations across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire who have all come together to support the proposal. Over 70 people, including service users, frontline staff, team leaders, directors and executives have contributed to make the proposal innovative, collaborative and achievable.
Aimed at bringing about radical change in the way prison, probation and support organisations operate, the project follows on from the successful “From Day One” conference hosted virtually, in December last year, by the Office of the PCC, in partnership with Aspire Oxford and Thames Valley Partnership.
The bid aims to ensure that support for those leaving prison begins well before they are released, increasing the chances of stable accommodation, relationships and employment, getting their lives back on track.
Matthew Barber, Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said:
“The scale of this project is huge, but so is the problem we need to overcome. Prison should absolutely be a place of punishment, but we need to ensure that all prison leavers are properly supported to deal with multiple challenges, including mental ill health and addiction. Every time we stop someone reoffending, we are preventing more people from becoming victims of crime.”
If successful in attracting funding from the Ministry of Justice, the programme will take a whole systems approach to overcoming the bureaucratic hurdles that prevent organisations from working effectively together, providing a joined up service, and achieving the best possible outcomes for our communities.
Gabriel Amahwe, Regional Probation Director, said:
“This is an ambitious programme which has the potential to bring about real system change, making a substantial difference to supervised individuals, reducing reoffending and protecting the public. We are excited to support this proposal.”
The outcome of the bidding process is due to be announced by the Ministry of Justice at the end of May 2021.