The prison population has risen by 82% in the last 30 years and conditions inside continue to deteriorate. Campaigners have raised serious concerns about violence, drug use and overcrowding. The safety of those held and working in custody has worsened rapidly during the last six years, with more self-inflicted deaths, self-harm and assaults than ever before. Meaningful rehabilitative activities are compromised due to staff shortages, lack of space and oversubscription. Existing mental health and substance misuse issues are often left unaddressed, and worsen, in custody.
Reoffending rates remain stubborn and prospects on release can be poor. Existing problems, as well as the barriers presented by a criminal record, can mean finding and keeping a job is a challenge. Just 19% of people leaving prison and referred to the Work Programme go on to find a job which they have held for six months or more. Entitlement to housing benefit stops for all prisoners serving more than 13 weeks, meaning that many prisoners lose their housing. Recent indications suggest that around one-third of people leaving prison said they had nowhere to live.
Our services in custody and the community are designed to help reduce crime and reoffending and to make communities safer. We know that mental health problems, substance misuse issues, learning difficulties and trauma are all prevalent among people in custody. Almost one-third of people assessed in prison in 2015/16 reported that they had a learning disability. From the moment a person is received into prison, through to release back into the community, we deliver practical support and provide information, advice and guidance.
We assess the needs and recognise the risks that each individual presents and work with them to develop an individually-tailored resettlement action plan. We also ensure that we maintain close, responsive and effective working relationships with our partners and stakeholders such as police, probation (CRC and NPS), Jobcentre Plus, training organisations and colleges, employers, accommodation providers, health services and a wide range of statutory and voluntary agencies.
We recognise the importance of lived experience, so we have a pool of volunteers – a number of whom are ex-offenders – who support our work and act as mentors and peer mentors for service users.
Our work with people in custody
We work with young and adult offenders in prisons and in the community, offering a wide range of services for a variety of client groups to support them to change their lives. Our goal is to reduce reoffending and help people to positively reintegrate into society. We operate in 14 prisons, young offender institutions and one secure training centre, offering a wide range of practical support.
We work with people in the run up to release to ensure they are practically and emotionally prepared for life on the outside. As part of this work, we signpost and support service users to find places in education, training or employment and to obtain suitable, stable and affordable accommodation. This includes referring young people and women to more specialist services. We are also a provider of community and prison accommodation.
We offer support and advice regarding access to employment, housing and education to people with criminal records and professionals working with them. We also provide training to employers and organisations about assessing and managing risk in relation to criminal records.
Our work with Drew helped him to turn his life around. Read his story here.
Our resettlement services
Nacro Greenwich Resettlement, funded by the Oxleas NHS Trust, provides resettlement services to offenders with medium to high mental health concerns, a high risk of reoffending and/or gang affiliation leaving HMP Belmarsh, HMP Thameside and HMP ISIS.
Nacro Peterborough Education, Training and Employment Programme helps offenders to prepare effectively for release and reintegration into society by providing advice on housing, employment or money management.
Nacro Transforming Rehabilitation – BeNCH, in partnership with Sodexo, provides support with accommodation, finance, benefits and debt to people leaving HMP Bedford and HMP Woodhill, and community support in Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.
Nacro Transforming Rehabilitation – Essex, in partnership with Sodexo, provides resettlement interventions relating to accommodation, education, training and employment, and finance, benefits and debt, delivers in custody and through-the-gate mentoring schemes and community group work programmes.
Nacro Conwy Supported Housing provides housing support to people with an offending history or who are at risk of reoffending. The team continues to provide support post-tenancy to ensure the smooth transition to independent living.
Nacro Denbighshire Flexible Supported Housing Service – Rhyl helps offenders to resettle into the community by providing support with housing-related issues such as managing their tenancies.
Nacro Gwynedd Supported Housing helps offenders to resettle into the community by providing support with housing-related issues such as managing their tenancies.
Nacro in Medway Secure Training Centre provides young people between the ages of 12 and 18 with core education in line with the national curriculum, as well as vocational education.
Nacro Kent Housing Brokerage Service, in partnership with Centra, delivers housing brokerage services both in custody and in the community throughout Kent. In custody, Nacro supports individuals as they begin their sentence and also as they prepare for release.
Nacro Wandsworth High Support helps ex-offenders to resettle into the community by providing them with support on training, housing and independent living skills.
Nacro Wavertree Accommodation Project provides 24-hour supported housing to people with an offending background and helps them gain the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to move on to independent accommodation.