We are a Tier 3 provider, interested in working with potential prime providers and Tier 2 providers as part of the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda.
We look forward to developing partnerships through Transforming Rehabilitation in all 21 regions, expanding our delivery in prisons and the community and playing a key role in facilitating change and contributing to a reduction in reoffending. Through our partnership with the Department for Education, we are (over the next 12 months) receiving business mentoring from Eastside Primetimers, to build capacity to meet the growing demand for our programmes, training and support services.
Rationale for the Restorative Thinking intervention programmes and wrap-around services
The Transforming Rehabilitation Programme is aimed at increasing the ‘focus on rehabilitation and dealing with offenders’ broader life management issues’. Assisting offenders to develop conflict resolution skills contributes to the emphasis on life management issues relating to family relationships, achieves meaningful employment and supports desistance from crime. NOMS Commissioning Intentions 2014 specifically sets out its custodial intentions ‘to ensure a safe, decent environment and rehabilitative culture’. The Restorative Thinking Programmes enable staff to develop and practise conflict resolution skills to manage challenging behaviour, and to role model effective ways of reducing violence, managing conflict and developing victim empathy.
A significant number of offenders in custody have experienced the care system and family breakdown. Some offenders may also be from families currently being supported through the ‘Troubled Families’ intervention programme. Graduates of the RT programme will return to the community with conflict resolution skills, and will be able to apply this within families, and in the best cases, will be able to support other family members. Our evaluation to date shows that offenders who have already engaged with the Restorative Thinking programme at HMP Forest Bank and HMP Oakwood have expressed their ability to use their new conflict resolution skills to change ‘self-talk’ within the prison setting; programme participants also declare their intentions to pass on these newly acquired skills to wider family members.
Offenders previously caught up in serious group offending will have the opportunity to consider the impact of their behaviour on others in the prison environment and the wider community. The issue of ‘disrespect’ was identified as a major contributing factor in ‘gang violence’ (Ending Gang and Youth Violence, 2011). RT enables participants to develop a broader understanding of ‘respect’. Offenders with a restorative education through engaging with the RT programmes are also more likely to meet with victim/s at request of the victim (Victim’s Code, 2013; MoJ RJ Action Plan, 2012); engagement with RT delivers this added positive outcome, because offenders have been prepared effectively to participate successfully in restorative conferencing. This will strengthen the work of PCCs in supporting the victims of serious crime.
Increasing offenders’ ability to resolve conflict without resorting to violence will help to reduce the number of women and girls subject to domestic abuse in their future relationships. A report by Shapland et al (2008) found that 88% of the public questioned supported restorative justice, 85% of victims who took part in restorative conferencing with offenders were satisfied with the process and a 14-27% lower reoffending rate was reported.
Finally, there is potential to incorporate restorative approaches into the operation of the prison Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme.
Here is a summary of our offer:
Restorative Thinking specialise in restorative justice programmes for offenders in the criminal justice system. We train and support prison, probation and YOS staff to effectively deliver Restorative Thinking intervention programmes with small groups and 1:1. We also have a pool of trained and experienced facilitators (and volunteers) who deliver Restorative Thinking intervention programmes in prison and community settings.
The Restorative Thinking intervention programmes give users (offenders and young offenders) the skills, knowledge and understanding to relate RJ to their own offence, resulting in greater take-up of RJ at the request of victims. The intervention programmes also empower participants to adopt restorative approaches to manage daily challenges and conflicts, promoting responsibility-taking and improving self-talk, leading to changes in attitude and behaviour, supporting a reduction in reoffending.
The three intervention programmes we will deliver with Transforming Rehabilitation partners are:
1. Restorative Thinking: A Restorative Justice Intervention Programme for Working with Offenders. The programme educates offenders in restorative justice approaches, to effectively prepare for a RJ conference or mediation with victims. Engagement with the programme also empowers offenders to manage daily challenges and conflicts in prison and community settings. Mapped across the core curriculum framework for literacy and employability. Outcomes: greater take-up of restorative conference/mediation with victim/s; offenders understand what RJ is, how they can access RJ within the criminal justice system; greater victim empathy; able to adopt restorative approaches to manage daily challenges; peer mediation, improve self-talk to manage behaviour in prison and community; leading to a reduction in reoffending.
2. Restorative Thinking: A Restorative Justice Toolkit Developed with Young People, for Young People. This toolkit gives young people access to a full understanding of restorative justice in the criminal justice system, explaining how RJ ‘looks and feels’, identifying how each young person can engage with RJ to help resolve their own offence. The toolkit also equips young offenders and those at risk of offending with the skills, knowledge and understanding to adopt restorative approaches as a key life skill to manage daily challenges and conflicts, to become solution-focused problem solvers. Outcomes: greater take-up of restorative conference/mediation with victim/s; greater victim empathy; able to adopt restorative approaches as a key life skill; leading to a reduction in reoffending.
3. The Restorative Thinking Parenting Programme (Parenting without Conflict), a 4-point programme for all with a parenting role, delivered in prisons (with groups of fathers and groups of fathers and their spouse/partner) and in the community. Awarded the Department of Health’s CANparent Quality Mark in November 2014. Outcomes: Underpinned by restorative approaches, helps families to reconnect; builds stronger relationships; supports parents in understanding their child/ren’s behaviour and the needs that underpin actions, how to meet these needs, identifying support networks.
All three programmes equip adult offenders and young offenders with a set of skills and values that contribute towards change in behaviour patterns and lead to a reduction in reoffending.
We also support wider Restorative Justice provision in criminal justice settings, through consultation, training and evaluation.
To find out more, please contact Lesley Parkinson: 01772-742353