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Safe Ground in the Farmer Review

Written by Programmes Manager Lindsay:

On 5 September, we attended the launch of the Farmer Review at the Centre for Social Justice in Central London. The review, published in August this year and hailed as landmark by government, names strong family ties as central to the prevention of reoffending, and the reduction of intergenerational crime. The room was filled to capacity, and I doubt there was any disagreement among attendees as to the importance of the strength and resources family networks can provide to men and women in prison. We all recognise that without social support and motivation, the development of a non-criminal identity is even more difficult.

We’re proud to report that Safe Ground’s submission was included among evidence collected from local and voluntary sector organisations, statutory bodies, the prison service, offenders and their families. In fact, page 86 of the review outlines our Family Man and Fathers Inside programmes, including the Ministry of Justice Data Lab finding that 24% of men who took part in the Family Man programme re-offended within a year of release, compared with 40% of their counterparts who did not participate in the programme.

It’s now been two decades since the Ministry of Justice commissioned Safe Ground to design those very programmes for use across the English and Welsh male prison estate, because they recognised then the value and potential in the work that we were doing. Since then, we’ve been working hard to deliver our innovative programmes to as many people as possible and we won’t stop. But, if the Farmer Review is to represent a true turning point in prison reform more generally, then the Government must once again demonstrate their understanding and recognition of the importance of our work and take forward recommendations from the review in the most concrete way. For now, a commitment means little. And while it’s widely accepted that the prison service itself is under enormous pressure and will struggle to make this difference alone, we know that there are countless local organisations ready to step up and work in partnership for as long as it takes. Safe Ground remains as confident, ambitious and necessary as ever.

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