Our policy work in justice aims to provide solutions to reduce crime, reduce reoffending and create a fairer and more effective justice system. We focus across the different stages of the system, from first contact with the police to release from prison and resettlement in the community. We are informed by the views and experiences of the people we support, working alongside them to develop policy proposals addressing the issues and barriers that they face.
Our justice policy and research areas
We work to improve the following areas:
We look at the pathways that can lead people towards crime, developing evidence-based policy solutions aimed at reducing involvement in crime and diverting people away from criminal behaviour and involvement with the criminal justice system.
We use evidence to call for effective solutions to reduce reoffending and protect the public. We advocate for community alternatives to prison for people sentenced to short sentences, which are proven to be more effective at reducing reoffending. We believe prisons must be places of rehabilitation. Using our experience of working in prisons, we highlight where there are systemic and practical barriers and develop solutions to address these.
We draw on our extensive experience in supporting people coming out of prison to put forward solutions to the barriers which hold people back from being able to turn their lives around. These include homelessness, unemployment, and access to support services.
We use the expertise from our criminal record advice service to put forward solutions to create a more effective and accessible criminal record disclosure system. We aim to reduce the barriers to employment faced by people with criminal records and help create a fair and safe system which individuals and employers can easily understand and navigate.
Over one quarter (27%) of people in prison are from a minority ethnic group despite making up 14% of the population. Black men and Black women are significantly more likely to be remanded to custody than White men and White women. We call for action to tackle the racial disproportionality so pronounced across our adult and youth justice system.
We also use evidence to call for action on women in the criminal justice system. Women are a minority in the criminal justice system making up approximately 4% of the prison population. However, they are often failed by a system designed for men. Many women are in prison on short sentences, the impact of which is significant, as many are primary carers for children. Many women in the system have suffered abuse, suffer from mental health and substance misuse problems.
We use our experience and evidence to call for a more effective youth justice system. Whilst the numbers of children and young people going into custody has significantly reduced, racial disparity has increased. Children in the system often have complex needs including the impact of previous trauma, and diagnosed as well as previously undiagnosed learning difficulties.
In June 2021, Forces in Mind Trust commissioned Nacro in partnership with the Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice and the Institute for Social Innovation and Impact at the University of Northampton to undertake a project to improve the situation of ex-service personnel in the justice system and their families.
We are conducting research into the current processes, mechanisms and barriers in place to identify former service personnel in the criminal justice system and examining barriers to the uptake of support from ex-service personnel and their families.
The research is exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the current identification processes across England, Wales and Scotland, and identifying the current provision of statutory and voluntary support services available to ex-armed service personnel in the criminal justice system.
The project is supported by a Steering Group and an Advisory Board and will run until Summer 2023.
Our justice publications library
For all of our justice policy and research publications, please see our publications library.
You will be able to review our reports, research, responses, and case studies.
Previous research projects in justice
We have a long history of collaborating with academics, leading experts and organisations to produce new evidence and drive meaningful change. You can learn more about our previous projects in our previous research section.
Collaborate with us on justice policy and research
We drive change through collaboration. We work with a wide range of organisations, in the public and private sector, who share our vision of reducing crime, breaking the cycle of crime and disadvantage, and supporting people to give them the best chance at a second chance.
We actively look to partner with universities, research centres, charities, government departments and statutory bodies, local and national enterprises who can help us to drive change.
If you would like more information on how you can partner with us to support your research, or be part of making an impact through changing policy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.