Big Lottery Funding Success – November 2016

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 ‘Family Support – In to Out – supporting ex-prisoners and their families towards a brighter future’ receives funding from the Big Lottery!

West Yorkshire Community Chaplaincy and Jigsaw Visitors Centre are delighted to be able to announce that they have been successful in securing funding from the Big Lottery to undertake an innovative three year project to support ex-prisoners and their families in the community.

Imprisonment causes extra strain on families which often results in family breakdown.  The Criminal Justice Joint inspection 2014 stated that family and friends are the most important factor in enabling successful resettlement on release. This project will minimise the impact of imprisonment on families and help break the cycle of re-offending.

Based at HMP Leeds, this project is unique in two ways. Firstly the ex-prisoner will be supported with his re-settlement needs individually whilst his family receives support in the community. Secondly, the family support service will be operational seven days a week, so that much needed assistance will be available during the weekend when many other services are closed.

Background information

Jigsaw and WYCCP are based at HMP Leeds opposite the prison gate. Alongside managing the Visitors Centre, Jigsaw has over twenty years’ experience of providing a range of services and support to prisoners families inside prison and in their centre.

For the last ten years the WYCCP team of paid staff and volunteers have been providing ‘through the gate’ support to men leaving prison to help them to lead more constructive and meaningful lives and to reduce the rate of men going back to prison;  our methodology is proven to reduce re-conviction to prison.

WYCCP’s role will be support the ex-prisoner by giving dedicated support; this could include accompanying him to appointments with probation, medical or psychiatric professionals; giving assistance in completing benefits forms and accessing volunteering and employment. A range of ongoing support will be given in re- integrating the man back into his family.

Jigsaw will use its substantial family experience to give tailored support to the family while their loved one is in prison; they will help them to adjust to the situation and deal with the practical issues that imprisonment has created.

Following release a Jigsaw family worker and a WYCCP volunteer will support the family in the community.  They will give practical and moral support and work to a regularly reviewed plan.  The family workers /volunteers will liaise with any statutory agency involved with the family, and be ready to help with a range of practical and emotional issues e.g. parenting, benefits, finance, health, accommodation. WYCCP will train and support a new group of family support volunteers to work alongside Jigsaw family Support workers in supporting families in the community.

Factfile

Prison has a poor record for reducing reoffending—45% of adults are reconvicted within one year of release. For those serving sentences of less than 12 months this increases to 58%.

At an average annual cost per prison place of £36,237,27,  the rise in the prison population since 1993 represents an estimated additional cost of £1.22bn annually.

Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile Autumn 2015

WYCCP supported 62 men to stay out of prison for a year or more during the last financial year, thus saving the state more than  £2 million.  70% of the men that WYCCP support are not in prison a year from release, a 30% re-conviction rate.

Imprisonment causes extra strain on families which often results in family breakdown:

The Criminal Justice Joint inspection 2014 stated that family and friends are the most important factor in enabling successful resettlement on release

Prison Governors receive no specific funding to meet the costs of family support work, parenting courses, family visitor’s centres or supervised play areas. This means any family provision must come from governors already stretched and shrinking general prison budget.

In the MOJ (2012) Prisoners childhood and family backgrounds report reported that 40% of people surveyed said support from their family and 36% said that seeing their children, would help them stop reoffending

Parental imprisonment approximately trebles the risk for antisocial/delinquent behaviour of children (Murray & Farrington (2008)

A government review found that “children of offenders are an invisible group: there is no shared, robust information on which they are little awareness of their needs and no systematic support (MOJ & department of children, schools and families 2007 Children of offender review.

A community support for offenders families service in Bristol, Isle of Wight and South Wales struggled to identify offender’s families as this service was based in the communities of these area. This impacted on the number of offender’s families that accessed their services. With our service based at HMP Leeds we have access to over 1,200 prisoner’s families.

Maintaining family contact between a prisoner and their family reduces the likelihood of future offending and can aid a reduction in the level of anti-social behaviour of children of prisoners. Prisoners who receive and have family support on release are far less likely to reoffend. In addition many of the families affected by imprisonment are in need, delivering services to these troubled families will improve outcomes for children.

Big Lottery Facts

  • The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. We put people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.
  • We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year we invest over £650 million and award around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
  • Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.

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