Breaking the cycle of violence
In a recent research , Emergency Exit: Which actions for supporting offenders close to release?, 13 key practices have proven to help resettle successfully ex offenders into society at their exit of prison and prevent them from re-offending.
The research report results from 2 years of collaborative efforts between non profit organisations to help identify models of good practice for the resettlement of offenders in Italy, UK, Greece, Germany, Hungary and Belgium. Solutions to help break the cycle of violence exist. Helping prisoners to re-settle successfully into society not only helps make society safer, the report shows it is also a way to help save a significant amount of money: For example, research in the UK has shown that for every £1 invested in measures helping to resettle prisoners, £10 is saved through the reduced cots of re-offending.
(The report can be downloaded at the bottom of this page)
The report identifies 13 recommendations and guidelines to help successfully re-settle prisoners:
1. The successful resettlement of (ex)-offenders requires a case management approach from arrest, through the period of imprisonment, to the time of release and beyond.
2. Put offenders and ex-offenders at the heart of resettlement work by creating “Peer Advisors” [These are prisoners trained in prison to help others]
3. Implement a peer led “Through The Gates” service with ex-offenders, or offenders released on supervision licence, meeting prisoners on the day of release at the prison gate and supporting them post release.
4. Attention must also be given to other aspects of the lives of (ex)-offenders (housing, families and the care of the children) supporting them towards full inclusion and active citizenship.
5. Developing training and educational programmes to increase the offenders’ employability, with an appropriate individual resettlement plan.
6. Developing social enterprises within prisons to increase employability, and self-esteem and create opportunities for more successful integration into the community on release. These programmes also maximise the continuity of pre-custodial life and promote active citizenship.
7. Integrating emotional and psychological support into generic training for young offenders or those most at risk of offending.
8. Increase the use of Restorative Justice.
9. To reinforce the role of supervision, continuing education and follow up-workshops for stakeholders and staff involved (social workers, mentors, managers) with internal/external experts (important for reflecting experiences, communication with other professionals, strategy planning &c.).
10. To support and encourage consistent networking between public and private organizations that work towards offenders’ resettlement. In fact the vertical system of delivering and of accountability in prison services and other public and private agencies represent a barrier to address.
11. Recognition of the importance of multi-agency working and further development of this model to deliver multi-disciplinary case meetings and case management.
12. To gain the support for the project of the major social private organizations that work in resettlement, in order to acquire expertise and maximize the resources. Partnership approaches to resettlement should be further encouraged.
13. To encourage evaluation processes examining outcomes for both clients and staff.