The backgrounds of the mentors that have supported our programmes include having studied for an undergraduate and/ or postgraduate degree in a relevant area (psychology, sociology, counselling and/or criminology), having worked for youth offending teams, having worked in schools or prisons, or having previously been a mentor. Individuals who volunteer with us are motivated by a desire to work with disadvantaged groups, to fulfil a new challenge, to work within prison environments, or to further their career in the criminal justice system. All our mentors undergo a full training programme and enhanced prison security vetting before beginning their roles. All mentors who work with children and young people possess enhanced DBS checks.
Our restorative justice interventions reduce crime and the harm it causes by enabling victims of crime to communicate safely with those who have caused harm. They assist victims of crime to move on from incidents of harm and empower those who have caused harm to take responsibility for their actions and avoid reoffending.
We provide restorative justice interventions in response to crimes committed in the community and in response to incidents and violence that occur in custodial settings.
Prison Life and New Achievements (PLAN A) is an innovative programme facilitating change by enabling harmers to engage with the three elements of art therapy, mentoring and restorative justice/victim awareness concurrently. The programme was initially piloted in HMP/YOI Isis during 2014 – 15, funded by the National Offender Management Service. It is now funded by Children in Need to run at HMPYOI Feltham. It targets males aged 14 - 30 years old who have been convicted of violent, gangaffiliated offences. The programme’s structure and rationale is based on research indicating that:
Arts based therapeutic approaches are advantageous when working with those who exhibit violent behaviour or have committed violent offences
Restorative justice interventions, particularly when applied in instances of violent offending, help victims to recover from crime and perpetrators to avoid reoffending
Mentoring services can reduce reoffending, in particular amongst young people
Of the young men who completed PLAN A at HMP Isis during 2016, all have said they would recommend the programme to others. Building on the initial independent evaluation of the scheme in 2015 by the Royal Holloway University, our internal evaluation of the scheme during 2016 has shown that:
73% of programme completers increased their participation in education, training and employment during or after the programme.
Of those participants who had perpetrated violence incidents in custody before PLAN A, 80% did not perpetrate violent incidents in the months following the programme.
Participant’s improved their thinking skills, problem solving skills, interpersonal skills and empathy with others.
Participants improved their mental and emotional wellbeing.