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EVERYONES BUSINESS

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Published on January 12, 2008

Author: Marco1

Source: authorstream.com

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EVERYONE’S BUSINESS: INVESTIGATING THE RESETTLEMENT NEEDS OF BLACK AND MINORITY ETHNIC EX-OFFENDERS IN THE WEST MIDLANDS:  EVERYONE’S BUSINESS: INVESTIGATING THE RESETTLEMENT NEEDS OF BLACK AND MINORITY ETHNIC EX-OFFENDERS IN THE WEST MIDLANDS SUSIE ATHERTON KATE WILLIAMS CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH Slide2:  “Reducing re-offending is not just a criminal justice issue: It is a health issue, a drug rehabilitation issue, an employment issue and a housing issue. Resettlement is in short, everyone’s business” (Senior, 2003) CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH BACKGROUND:  BACKGROUND Growing concerns over the rising prison population. Chronic nature of re-offending and diminishing confidence in CJS. Disproportionate amount of offenders from BME groups in prison. National Offender Management Service - reduce re-offending by 10%; limit the rise in prison numbers to 80,000 with 240,000 under community supervision. Address the gaps in service provision which exclude vulnerable groups, e.g. problematic drug and alcohol users, female offenders and BME groups. Cost-effective services in a ‘market for correctional services’ (NACRO, 2004). Offenders are to have ‘end to end management’; serve sentence as close as possible to their community. CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH RESETTLEMENT ISSUES:  RESETTLEMENT ISSUES ‘Effective re-integration of imprisoned offenders back into the community’ (Gelsthorpe, 2004). Multidisciplinary - cross economic, social and psychological boundaries ‘Reintegration into the moral/social community as well as physical community.’ (Maruna, 2004) RISK FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH RE-OFFENDING Housing, poor education, unemployment, social exclusion, mental health problems and problematic drug and alcohol use Prison sentences – impact on housing, employment, financial security and family relationships Vulnerable groups - short-term sentences, mentally ill offenders, problematic drug and alcohol users and foreign nationals. (Social Exclusion Unit, 2002, Harper and Chitty, 2005). CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH THE NEEDS OF BLACK AND MINORITY ETHNIC EX-OFFENDERS :  THE NEEDS OF BLACK AND MINORITY ETHNIC EX-OFFENDERS ‘Reducing Re-offending National Action Plan,’ - addressing diversity ‘essential component.’ (McGuire, 2002b). Inter agency communication and need to provide a resettlement service both in the prison and the wider community. MacPherson Report (1999), ‘institutional racism’ within the Metropolitan Police, but also presence of such prejudice throughout public service and government (Phillips and Bowling, 2003). Social exclusion or racism and discrimination, or a combination of both? (Calverley et al, 2004). Gaps and barriers to effective resettlement CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH METHODOLOGY – AIMS OF THE RESEARCH:  METHODOLOGY – AIMS OF THE RESEARCH To identify the resettlement needs of BME prisoners To map the types of support available to BME prisoners and ex-offenders To highlight examples of both good practice and gaps within existing service provision To work towards the development of a BME resettlement model through recommendations based upon the research findings CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH INTERVIEWS WITH SERVICE PROVIDERS:  INTERVIEWS WITH SERVICE PROVIDERS PRISON SERVICES Housing, employment, accessing financial support Links with voluntary sector Mentors BME – faith-based support; foreign nationals Security contraints; space; attitudes of employers, housing associations, community ‘all the hard work done within the prison breaks down’ Impact of short term sentences Replicate short term small scale projects which work CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH Slide8:  PROBATION Throughcare, partnerships with housing, social services, employers, Drug Action Teams, faith-based organisations, voluntary sector Resettlement ‘not specifically a BME issue’ Lack of time spent with offenders; funding; housing; some do still ‘slip through the net.’ BME groups - improved employment opportunities to help BME ex-offenders get over the potential ‘double stigma.’ Practical resettlement strategies, with more counselling support and mentoring services. CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH INTERVIEWS WITH SERVICE PROVIDERS Slide9:  COMMUNITY AND FAITH-BASED SERVICES Umbrella organisations or direct support: CLINKS, National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO), Business Enterprises Support Ltd, Community Roots, The Host Corporation, Job Centre Plus, BORRIS (Blakenhurst Offenders Rehabilitation and Resettlement in Solihull), Bringing Hope, North Staffordshire Community Chaplaincy Project, Prison Link. BME ex-offenders - different experiences they face in society, e.g. gang culture leave prison with a ‘score to settle.’ Excluded from statutory sources of support, language and cultural differences, mistrust of ‘authoritarian organisations.’ Stigma in the community and among family Counselling and support ‘spirit of forgiveness and flexibility, and an unselfish approach.’ CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH INTERVIEWS WITH SERVICE PROVIDERS Slide10:  COMMUNITY AND FAITH-BASED SERVICES Funding a key issue; key part of their day to day work; often overwhelmed by excessive paperwork Co-operation with other agencies Lack of promotion among community services Problem with community offenders are released in to ‘there is no community support as there is no community.’ Need to improve the sustainability of initiatives Public perceptions needed to be challenged to remove the stigma UK - worst for ‘locking up and forgetting about offenders, not considering the causes or preventing crime.’ Mentoring - a way forward, which in an ideal world would be offered to all ex-offenders. CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH INTERVIEWS WITH SERVICE PROVIDERS PROFILE OF BME PRISON POPULATION:  PROFILE OF BME PRISON POPULATION BME groups - 7.9% of the national population February 2003 - 17,500 people from minority ethnic groups in prison service establishments; 24.2 % of the male population (16% black, 3.4 % Asian and 4.8% Chinese and other) and 30.5 % of the female population (25.3% black, 0.8% Asian and 4.7% Chinese and other). BME prisons population increased by 138% between 1993 and 2003. WEST MIDLANDS REGION Ethnically and socio-economically diverse region, rural communities, prosperous inner city areas and areas of deprivation Nearly 7000 prisoners in total were received into prisons in 2002 and of those, 1058 were black, 364 were Asian, and 473 were classed as ‘other’. Black and black British offenders - largest of the minority groups prison, and yet, in the national population, Asians and Asian British are the largest group. ‘Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System’ (Home Office, 2004), CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH Slide12:  HOUSING Male and female offenders - most important resettlement requirement. One woman explained why, due to her homelessness, her license was breached and she was returned to prison:- “because of that…it’s not an excuse, I’m not trying to justify it, but to see probation was the last thing on my mind…it was a case of, wake up in the morning – where am I going to sleep tonight?” CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH INTERVIEWS WITH OFFENDERS Slide13:  Drug Rehabilitation Employment and Training Improving Access and Awareness ‘the crucial time is that month, when you get out of the prison gate, that month is the…you’re more vulnerable than any other time.’ CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH INTERVIEWS WITH OFFENDERS Slide14:  Prison as a Form of Punishment “if I was Tony Blair…instead of spending all that money…on prisons…I’d do my research, do you know what I mean? I’d find out why people are doing it. …a lot of people I know…if they could settle down…find a place…get a job…I reckon 50% of the people wouldn’t come back in here…a lot of people, from what I’ve seen, have got no choice, trust me”. CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH INTERVIEWS WITH OFFENDERS Slide15:  Gender Differences BME Differences ‘It doesn’t matter what colour you are, what race you are, if you’ve been in jail, you’re an ex-offender, everything is going to be difficult, full stop.’ CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH INTERVIEWS WITH OFFENDERS Slide16:  Disillusionment: “the way society has moulded these people, they way prison moulds these people, the things they have to put up with in prison, they go out there, they don’t want to work, they don’t want no help off nobody, do you know what I’m saying, they just want to do their own thing, which leads to obviously committing more offences…it’s because they’ve been victimised more because of their race…they’ve never been given no help…quite the opposite…they go out there, they don’t want to know…they resent everyone”. Resettlement is only the tip of the iceberg; necessary to address much wider institutional and societal issues of racism. CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH INTERVIEWS WITH OFFENDERS CONCLUSIONS:  CONCLUSIONS Prison Amenities constrained by environment and security concern. Short-term sentences often reduced the facilities available to inmates. Links with potential employers need to be improved. Probation Not enough time is available to probation officers to spend with offenders. Funding issues are also a concern Improved employment opportunities for offenders are also required. More counselling and mentoring services would be useful to address emotional needs of offenders. CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH CONCLUSIONS:  CONCLUSIONS Community and Voluntary Services Reliable and long term funding is paramount with bureaucracy kept to a minimum. Share information and good practice clearly Promote services in order to raise awareness Mentoring needs to be explored further. Media and general public need to be re-educated on the benefits of community involvement CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH CONCLUSIONS:  CONCLUSIONS Offenders and Ex-Offenders Inadequacy of previous resettlement attempts; overall perception that help ineffective. Lack of communication, proactive working and awareness Lack of suitable housing and financial support immediately upon release Structured drug rehabilitation was also for many a requirement in order to resettle effectively and not re-offend. Gaining employment or a place on a desired training course was viewed as important, particularly for male offenders. The appropriateness of prison as a form of punishment needs to be questioned. Race or ethnicity not the sole disadvantage; key problem was stigma as ex-offender, but some experiences of racism in whole CJS. CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH ISSUES FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION:  ISSUES FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION The Use of Imprisonment Inappropriate and unreasonable, detrimental to both the offender in question and society as a whole. For some interviewees, resettlement difficulties victimised and disadvantaged further when the use of prison as a punishment appeared to be extremely inappropriate at the outset. Short-Term Sentences Restrictions they place on inmates for resettlement and their impact upon future offending. Foreign Nationals ‘Slipped through the net’ - difficulties with immigration and a perception of a lack of equal human rights. CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH ISSUES FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION:  ISSUES FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION Resettlement as ‘Fashionable’ Resettlement Officer described it as yet ‘another initiative’, but how long will it maintain current recognition? Societal Issues Resettlement from prison is only one part of a much wider jigsaw - prisons actually have to ‘mop up’ the failures of many other agencies within society. As one Resettlement Officer pointed out:- “We have to make do where everybody else fails…we cannot be everything to everybody”. For BME ex-offenders, the extent to which they experience racism and prejudice in the community and society as a whole is unquestionable. CENTRE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND RESEARCH

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