Better Justice Partnership | Nacro

Better Justice Partnership

We’re working in partnership to champion evidence-based policymaking to reduce crime and make communities safer.

What is the Better Justice Partnership?

The Better Justice Partnership aims to increase government support for early intervention and rehabilitation by building an alliance to advocate for evidence-based policymaking.

We aim to improve public safety by tackling high re-offending rates and the disproportionate criminalisation of people facing multiple disadvantage and racial inequality.

We want to improve responses and support for young people before they get caught up in offending and when they first have contact with the justice system. This includes access to youth services, education, health services and housing, so people get the support and encouragement they need to turn their lives around.


The Lammy Review (2017)

“Some groups are heavily over-represented in prison – for example Black people make up around 3% of the general population but accounted for 12% of adult people in prison in 2015/16; and more than 20% of children in custody.”


What is happening in the criminal justice system?

The criminal justice system isn’t working well for communities or victims of crime. Young people are not getting the support they need early enough. Criminal justice responses often make their problems worse and can lead to a cycle of crisis and crime.

Parts of the system are under severe and growing strain. The court system is backed up and the prison population has nearly doubled since the 1990s, making rehabilitation more challenging than ever. England and Wales now have the highest prison rates in Western Europe and the number of people in prison is set to increase further. 60% of people sent to prison have committed a non-violent offence and the use of community sentences has halved.

We need to tackle the causes of crime early, through evidence-based solutions that work better than fines and prison.

  • 30 %

    of people in prison

    have a learning disability or difficulty.

  • 63 %

    of people in prison

    have been suspended or excluded during childhood.

  • 24 %

    of people in prison

    have been in care during their childhood.

What is the Better Justice partnership doing?

We will show how the current system harms public safety and contributes to wider social problems. These include health and mental health inequalities, racial disparities, homelessness, unemployment, and debt.

We will make the case for evidence-based solutions that tackle the causes of offending and that intervene early to reduce harm to victims and communities.

Every review has reached nearly the same conclusion...custodial sanctions, including imprisonment, have no appreciable effect on reducing reoffending.
Crime and Justice Journal, 2021

About the partnership

The Better Justice Partnership brings together four major UK charities – Action for Race Equality, the Howard League for Penal Reform, Nacro, and Transform Justice – to drive government support for justice system reform. The steering group also includes the Centre for Mental Health, Clinks, the Criminal Justice Alliance, and Prison Reform Trust.

Action for Race Equality has been working for 30 years to end race inequality. ARE works closely with decision makers in government bodies and minority-led community groups who provide essential services to Black, Asian, and minority ethnic people to present opportunities for policy change, stimulate community involvement on issues of crime, victimisation, and criminal justice and ensure that race equality remains a core and achievable goal across criminal justice policy and practice.

The Howard League’s programme tackling the criminalisation of children in care resulted in a reduction in criminalisation of children living in residential care from 15% in 2016 to 5% by 2021. Previous campaign successes by the Howard League include ending the restrictions on books being made available to people in prison, which saw a groundswell of popular support and won a Charity Award in 2015 and reversing government policy on the introduction of a Criminal Courts Charge.

Nacro logo

We have a long history of influencing across the criminal justice system. From creating change on criminal records through our Change the Record campaign and as a founder member of Ban the Box through to more recent success campaigning for an end to Friday Prison Releases for the most vulnerable and campaigning to end the cycle of homelessness on release from prison through our Cell Street Repeat campaign.

Find out more about the work we do.

Transform Justice has been instrumental in changing the law to make it harder to remand children in prison. Together with Clinks, the Criminal Justice Alliance and the Standing Committee for Youth Justice, they have led a series of projects on reframing criminal justice, working with the Frameworks Institute to support their research and delivering a programme of guidance and training for sector staff.

Find out more

Discover more about the Better Justice Partnership by contacting
Vicky Fobel, Head of the Better Justice Partnership