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Engaging with Ex-Offenders by Mind Map: Engaging with
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Engaging with Ex-Offenders

Contribution - high interest stakeholders

High influence

Sponsors, Voluntary and community organisations who support ex-offenders volunteering can struggle to maintain funding (See link: page 38), Ensuring the commissioning process recognises volunteer management costs (See link: page 33), Most employers have no written policy on the recruitment of ex- offenders, and most are reluctant to develop such policies (See link: page 6), Empoyers agree there would have to be a very strong case to develop specific policies for ex-offenders (See link: page 8), Raising public awareness of the needs of offenders and the work of the Criminal Justice System (See link: page 10), Inconsistent leadership and resources for the support of volunteering for ex-offenders(See link: page 6), A senior manager should champion ex-offender volunteering in their organisation (See link: page 9), Include ex-offenders who can advise senior management (See link: page 2), Scarcity of robust evidence regarding the added value of volunteering for ex-offenders (See link: page 6), (Also see link: page 36), Investigation of opportunities for new internal and external research of the impact of volunteering (See link: page 7), Good practice is demonstrated by many small scale voluntary organisations (See link: page 9)

Blockers, Dramatic growth of risk management in the voluntary and community sector (See link: page 36), (Also, see link: page 19 - fig 3), Adoption of effective practice risk assessment principles (See link: pages 4-5, (Also see link: pages 4-5), Involving prisoners on day-release tends not to be a risk (See link: page 11), Risk management processes to be agreed with all parties (See link: page 8), Protocols circulated and support provided for VCS organisations re risk management for referred offenders (See link: pages 3 & 5), Volunteering organisations not welcoming ex-offenders as volunteers due to their past (See link: page 2), Also, employer concerns that recruiting ex-offenders could put their organisation at risk (See link: page 6), Also, stigma attached to a member of the community being in prison (See link: page 19 - fig 3), Some employers concerned that adopting an ex-offender recruitment policy gives the impression to the public, staff and customers they are actively seeking to recruit ex-offenders (See link: page 6), Also, negative percetions of prisons and the probation service (See link: page 19 - fig 3), Raising public awareness of the needs of offenders and the work of the Criminal Justice System (See link: page 10), Policies that ban ex-offenders from volunteering or require sentences to be spent for over 12 or 24 months (See link: page 19 - fig 3)

Low influence

Beneficiaries, Ex-offenders who have benefitted from volunteering can progress to peer-volunteering roles and other advisory roles (See link: page 3), Also, see the volunteering progression for an offender (See link: page 17 - fig 2), Worthwhile and well-designed volunteer opportunities are greatly appreciated by ex-offenders (See link: page 3), A long history of involving volunteers for prisoners and ex-offenders has resulted in numerous successes (See link: page 7)

Victims, Ex-offenders have few vocational skills and low level of educational attainment (see link: page 25), Provide opportunities to develop via prison volunteering programmes (see link: page 15), The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974)  and Criminal Record Bureau Checks are too complex, and have too many exemptions (see link: page 29), Before an offer is withdrawn in case of a disclosure, it must be discussed with the applicant (see link: page 16), Disregard irrelevant restrictions in Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (see link: page 15), Ensure volunteer adverts state that a criminal record will not necessarily prevent volunteering work (see link: page 16), Employees may be wary about working alongside ex-offenders (See link: page 9), Guidance for protection staff & volunteers who work alongside ex-offenders (See link: page 40), Ex-offenders who volunteer may be treated less favourably than other volunteers (See link: page 3), Organisations that recruit ex-offenders as volunteers to develop a policy to reflect this (See link: page 3)

Contribution - low interest stakeholders

High Influence

Positive influencers, Volunteering within the correctional services has developed in the absence of overall leadership and co-ordination - a fragmented approach (See link: page 18), Inadequate leadership and co-ordination between prisons and probations services (See link: page 7), There is great potential for partnership-working (See link: page 7), Inter and intra sector partnerships are developing (See link: page 12), (Also see link: page 6), Ensuring NOMS inputs into the development of national volunteering policies (See link: page 7), Encouraging volunteering pathways as part of regional strategies for reducing re-offending (See link: page 25), Without a lead within prisons and probation services, nothing much will happen (See link: page 5), Encouraging Regional Offender Managers to make links on local partnership agencies and forums (See link: page 7), Encouraging closer partnership-working between statutory and VCS organisations (See link: page 25), Ensuring volunteering becomes a key opportunity with the commissioning process (See link: page 25), Ensuring the commissioning process recognises volunteer management costs (See link: page 33), The provision of a national champion for volunteering and ex-offenders (See link: page 5), (Also see link: page 14), Volunteer management practices can vary between and within prisons and probation services (See link: page 5), Keeping those responsible for volunteer co-ordination informed of national and regional developments (See link: page 7), Commissioning to incorporate national standards for volunteer management (See link: page 4), Staff responsible for volunteer development have numerous other competing roles and responsibilities with prison or probation services (See link: page 5), Encouraging volunteer co-ordination as a distinct part of job roles in prisons and probation areas (See link: page 7), Probation services not building on, or recognising experience gained from undertaking volunteering in prisons (See link:page 26), Encouraging Regional Offender Managers to lead on volunteering (See link: pages 7 & 25), Encouraging the inclusion of volunteering and mentoring in offender management plans (See link: page 7), National Offender Management Service vision for 'end-to-end offender management' (See link: page 2), Training and capacity development in probation service to enhance engagement with the VCS (See link: page 3), Third sector organisations working with ex-offenders can have poor sustainability and networking and poor access to development opportunities (See link: page 6), There is momentum towards parthership-working and the development of the Faith and VCS Alliance (See link: page 6), Also, refer to the Corporate Alliance and the Civic Society Alliance (See link: page 20), NOMS aims to better engage with diverse organisations, making use of their expertise and links to users and communities (See link: page 5), There are few opportunities for prisoners to volunteer outside of the prison environment (See link: page 17), 'Peer volunteer' prisoners have more opportunity for volunteering in the community (See link: page 21), Prisons & probation services keen to encourage service users of 'peer volunteering' to move on to volunteering opportunities (See link: pages 41 & 50), There is a wealth of experience and local knowledge in ex-offenders and volunteering (See link: page 6), Well-established work of faith-based organisations (See link: page 5), (Also see link: page 2), There is a conducive social and political environment to support volunteering for ex-offenders (See link: page 6), Volunteering to help with reducing offending fits well with wider government policies and initiatives around the development of volunteering (See link: page 26)

Negative influencers, Some funders (and the general public) may not be supportive of projects that involve ex-offenders as volunteers (See link: page 3), Some employers had developed links with agencies that work with unemployed ex-offenders, but did not wish to make this public (See link: page 7), Employers do not want to be attacked in the press when they take a reasonable approach to the employment of ex-offenders (See link: page 8), A rapidly changing environment in the Criminal Justice System, which creates uncertaintly and hinders the development of volunteering programmes (See link: page 19)

Low influence

Bystanders, Lack of motivation and self-confidence (see link: page 25), Develop volunteering opportunities for prisoners (See link: page 15), NB Provision of a mentor and support is critical (See link: page 21), Examples of volunteering activities for prisoners (See link: page 33-39), Also see link: page (iii), Principles of involving prisoners as volunteers (See link: page 34), Provision of support from within the prison/probation services for ex-offenders to volunteer (See link: page 36), Develop 'peer volunteering' opportunities for ex-offenders (See link: pages 13-14), Ex-offender 'peer volunteers' can fall back into a criminal lifestyle when working with offenders (See link: page 17), Ongoing support and supervision of ex-offenders who are peer volunteers (See link: page 17), Peer volunteers to be suported by a coach for their own personal development (See link: page 4), Establishing a recognition scheme for volunteering (See link: page 7), Lack of social and professional networks which would assist ex-offenders to find a placement (see link: page 25), Develop personal networks through ex-offender peer volunteers (See link: page 4), Ex-offenders had not been asked to volunteer (See link: page 2), A lack of awareness among the general public of the opportunities for engaging with the Criminal Justice System (See link: page 19 - fig 3), Engaging local people in developing local solutions to local problems (See link: page 15), Raising public awareness of the needs of offenders and the work of the Criminal Justice System (See link: page 10), Volunteer mentors for ex-offenders develops the relationship between offenders and the community (See link), Plenty of volunteering roles for prisoners to engage with, to prepare them for integration into the community (See link: page 3)



Ex-offenders can gain new skills, interests and experiences (and references) through volunteering, and also helps with employablility (See link: page 3), (Also, see link: page 28), (Also see link: page 5)

Volunteering can help ex-offenders to develop their attituted and beliefs (See link: page 4)


(also see link: page 32), Disclosure, information must be kept secret by organisations when recruiting (see link: page 15), Refrain from asking for information about criminal convictions until face-to-face (See link: page 58)

Ex-offenders can feel embarrassment and shame in having to disclose their criminal records (See link: page 3), (Also see link: page 31), Taking a measured and commonsence approach to dealing with applications from ex-offenders (See link: page 3)

Ex-offenders can feel exploited when not being paid for the work they are doing (See link: page 46), Can feel rewards which equalled getting paid [e.g. training, lunch, travel expenses, work experience etc.] (See link: page 48)

A lack of confidence in new environments and relationships (See link: page 2)

Volunteering for ex-offenders can boost confidence and increase self-esteem (See link: page 3), Key issues is that ex-offenders are given responsibility at a time when decisions are made for them rather than by them (See link: page 6), Volunteering gives ex-offenders a sense of empowerment and fulfilment that may hev been sought for unsuccessfully in the past (See link: page 3), Volunteering helps to break the stigma attached to being an offender and highlights the potential to change (See link: page 4)


Volunteering can help prisoners feel part of society again before they are released (See link: page 20)


Ex-offenders fear having to disclose their past convictions (see link: page 20)

Prejudice and stereotypes held by organisations put ex-offenders off from volunteering (see link: page 18), Make sure your equal opportunities policy covers ex-offenders (see link: page 15), Sample policy (See link: page 16), Make it clear in adverts that applications from people with a criminal record will be welcomed (See link: page 1), Some funders (and the general public) may not be supportive of projects that involve ex-offenders as volunteers (See link: page 3)

Volunteering for ex-offenders can provide stability and routine (See link: page 3)


Costs associated with volunteering if expenses are not covered (See link: page 3), Encouraging service providers to implement an expenses policy (See link: page 7), Ensuring the commissioning process recognises volunteer management costs (See link: page 33)

Evidence that volunteers are lost due to the very lengthy security clearance and CRB checks (See link: page 19 - fig 3)



Organisational, Shortcomings in volunteer management practices, including poor recruitment mechanisms and non-payment of expenses (See link: page 19 - fig 3), Recruitment practices, Volunteer application processes discourage ex-offenders to apply by asking for too much information (See link: page 33), Also, recruitment processes can be lengthy (See link: page 3), Develop application processes to embrace the needs of ex-offenders (See link: page 4), Social Exclusion as a result of failure to adopt suitable volunteer recruitment and retention procedures. (see link: page 5), Guidance on developing fit-for-purpose CRB screening processes (See link: pages 7-12), Recruitment processes 'force' too much disclosure (See link: page 33), Some organisations undertake CRB checks on all volunteers and use this as their key risk management process (See link: page 9), Develop a range of other processes to enhance the risk management of volunteer recruitment [e.g. interviews, references, trial periods, supervision etc.] (See link: page 6), Also see link: page 36), Organisations unsure what to do if an existing volunteer is found to have a criminal record, Review the situation in the context of the volunteering role (see link: page 10, fig 5), Role design, Volunteer roles design not conducive to ex-offenders (See link: page 51), Also see link: page 46 (re boring/repetitive tasks), Principles of design of suitable volunteering roles (See link: pages 51-53), Tailoring volunteering placements, Provision of training, Providing structure and support, Exploring what individuals wish to get out of volunteering (See link: page 51), Range of volunteers roles undertaken by ex-offenders as peer volunteers (See link: pages 34-38), and in the community (See link: pages 38-39), The requirement to make a commitment to sign up for regular activities (See link: page 2), Ongoing support, Line management of ex-offender volunteering initiatives can be inconsistent with limited resources (See link: page 7), Project managers will benefit from advice and support of a specialist agency that works with ex-offenders (See link: page 9), Lack of support and supervision for volunteers (See link: page 47), Limited resources for volunteer management to embrace ex-offenders as volunteers (See link: page 19 - fig 3), Ensuring the commissioning process recognises volunteer management costs (See link: page 33), Supporting ex-offenders as volunteers takes considerable resources, both in time and money (See link: page 2), Support is also required for those who support ex-offender volunteers (See link: page 2), Ensuring the commissioning process recognises volunteer management costs (See link: page 33), Specialist VCS agencies that involve mentors working with ex-offenders (See link: page 3), Other management issues, Ex-offender 'peer volunteers' may have access to personal information about ex-offenders (See link: page 17), developing well-established protocols for managing and sharing information (See link: page 17), Staff may not have the skills to facilitate service-user involvement (See link: page 47), Provision of regular meetings to get staff feedback (See link: page 47), Guidance for involving ex-offenders as volunteers, Summary checklist (See link), See link for further guidance that can be purchased, Guidance on role-design, recruitment, induction, support and supervision (See link), Project managers will benefit from advice and support of a specialist agency that works with ex-offenders (See link: page 9), Recruiting responsibly: a guide for employers (See link: pages11-15)

Individual, Ex-offenders not used to interacting with public (see link: page 40), Also, offenders who particpate in volunteering programmes in prison does not ensure they can manage social challenges volunteering presents in the community (See link: page 13), Ex-offenders volunteering in the community whilst serving their sentence (see link: page 15), Having someone to turn to for support (See link: page 23), Ex-offenders struggle in a volunteering context (various links), Volunteers have trouble putting together a CV and find the process of an interview a challenge (See link: page 28), 80% of prisoners have writing skills at or below the level expected of an 11-year-old in reading [65% in numeracy, and 50% in reading] (See link: page 4), 90% of offenders suffer from at least one mental health problem (See link: page 5), Ex-offender volunteers would like 1-1 support from people with similar backgrounds (See link: page 4)


Organisational, The inappropriate and often unnecessary application of the CRB checks by organisations that involve volunteers (See link: page 1), Guidance on when to ask for a CRB disclosure and how to make a decision to recruit an ex-offender (See link: pages 1-3), (Also see link: pages 5-7), (Also see link: pages 4-6 & 9-10), Criminal Records Bureau checks - guidance from the Cabinet Office (See link), Guidance on the role of the Independent Safeguarding Authority and the new Vetting and Barring Scheme (See link), Discrepancies can occur between what a potential volunteer had revealed and what is recorded on a Disclosure certificate (See link: page 2), Delay a decision to recruit until the CRB has confirmed a mistake has been made (See link: page 2), Guidance on gathering information about criminal records (See link: page 5)

Individual, Ex-offenders unaware of what volunteering is, and how it can be relevant (See link: page 13), (Also see link: page 2), Develop volunteering opportunities for prisoners (See link: page 15), Provision of support from within the prison/probation services for ex-offenders to volunteer (see link: page 27)