How Policy Impacts Criminal Justice Charities
April 7th, 2020 by Keisha Bhamra.
Safe Ground has published a new report investigating how recent policy changes have impacted small criminal justice charities. The current situation is highlighting, more than ever, fundamental issues within the prison estate and many are calling for penal reform. Safe Ground’s critical analysis of prison education, therefore, comes at a pivotal moment.
Our report investigates how the new PEF and DPS have changed the way education is commissioned and delivered in prisons. Based on the plentiful evidence discussed in the report and our own experience, we believe that these new systems have had a negative effect on the voluntary sector.
We begin by outlining some of the most prevalent issues facing prisons today, including suicide and overcrowding. In such difficult times, the work of criminal justice organisations is hugely important. We highlight how the funding environment has changed and the repercussions this has had on organisations, citing Clinks’ latest ‘The state of the sector’ report in particular.
The PEF and DPS were introduced a year ago in April 2019, and we discuss how these new systems have transformed the commissioning landscape for service providers like ourselves. We argue that the DPS has tended to side-line specialised, bespoke programmes in favour of IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance) which has dominated the DPS’ budget. This has resulted in financial insecurity for many organisations and from our standpoint, reduced the quality of education and services provided in prisons. In essence, we believe that the DPS is ineffective and advocate for reform.
Our report is attached as a PDF below. We are hoping to gain further data on how the new policy change is affecting organisations and we’d love to hear any opinion and comments, so please do not hesitate to get in touch. All comments will be anonymised and handled with discretion.