Offending and rehabilitation
Learning from supporting ex-offenders
It can feel like a life sentence, even if it wasn’t one. People leaving prison face years of obstacles and prejudice when re-integrating into society. That’s why we are interested in finding ways to support and learn from projects working with people at risk of offending, ex-offenders, their families and their communities.
To help reduce the risk of re-offending, we’ve learnt it’s important to understand and address the challenges people face such as:
- Poor social skills - limited social skills and engaging with the community, problem-solving skills and poor emotion management
- Anti-social lifestyle choices - criminal attitudes and friends and a lack of positive recreation or leisure activities
- Poor resilience - low motivation, self-efficacy, lack of hope and difficulties in recognising progress
- Complex issues - substance abuse, dysfunctional family relationships, homelessness, unemployment, and reduced job opportunities
- Gaps in services - some services cannot act within critical timescales
- Negative attitudes - people and communities discouraging engagement with an individual because they are an ex-offender.
Providing the right support can help people reintegrate into their local community as well as prevent re-offending. Projects looking to support offenders and ex-offenders should think about:
- Building trust-based relationships
- Facilitating continuity in relationships - this can include meeting offenders while they are still in prison
- Meeting prisoners at the prison gate
- Approaches which motivate and support ex-offenders to want to change, including encourage a belief in their own capacity to change
- Flexibility - there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and project models should allow for support to be increased during times of crisis.
- Partnership working and collaboration between services to provide joined-up services. This is important in providing all-round support
- Using peer advisors gives endorsement and helps build trust.
What you’ve said
In December 2014, we asked for your thoughts on how to support people who have a history of offending including:
- Examples of effective work
- Delivery models which respond best to local differences
- Strengths of ex-offenders.
Read more about the responses we got to these questions.