Last week, I attended, on behalf of our Sector, a Reducing Re-offending Workshop run by the Safer Solihull Partnership. Other Third Sector organisations represented included Fry Housing and SIAS. Reducing the re-offending rate is one of Safer Solihull’s priorities and an aim of the workshop was to explore how, through smarter working and in partnership, this goal might be achieved.
We were presented with statistics that painted a picture of the issue; the most prevalent crime of those who re-offend is violence (35%) followed by theft (27%) and then acquisitive crime (15%). The most prevalent group of re-offenders are males between the ages of 13 and 20 (33%).
We heard from Sue Moore, the Drug Intervention Programme Manager, that seven pathways to reduce re-offending have been identified. These are:
- Training & Employment
- Drug and Alcohol Treatment
- Finance, Benefits & Debt
- Children & Families
& Attitudes, Thinking & Behaviour
In other words, the presence of the above issues, like lack of a place to stay or job prospects, discord in the home or a grudge against society, in an offender’s life will act as barriers to them ‘going straight’ and appropriate, early interventions can reduce the probability of re-offending. We can readily recognise that our Sector is operating in each of the areas and has a potential role to play.
I also heard for the first time at this session of the work of SOVA, a charity, who from their Birmingham office, in the words of their web site:
- ‘work with participants in custody and in the community on release and was established to assist in removing the multiple barriers to labour market entry facing disadvantaged offenders.’
- ‘provides mentoring services to young offenders through the recruitment, training and support of community volunteers.’
Our workshop concluded that approaches of this nature, incorporating a mentoring/buddying approach, which began with a pre-release intervention and continued through, hopefully, a rehabilitation into the community, would be a useful approach for Solihull to seek. It could give continuity of support linked to multi-agency response to barriers faced by the individual offender. The feasibility of pursuing such an approach will be considered further.
If you or your organisation would be keen to find out more or potentially get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can include you in the dialogue.