Engaging with Ex-Offenders

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

1. Contribution - high interest stakeholders

1.1. High influence

1.1.1. Sponsors

1.1.1.1. Voluntary and community organisations who support ex-offenders volunteering can struggle to maintain funding (See link: page 38)

1.1.1.1.1. Ensuring the commissioning process recognises volunteer management costs (See link: page 33)

1.1.1.2. Most employers have no written policy on the recruitment of ex- offenders, and most are reluctant to develop such policies (See link: page 6)

1.1.1.3. Empoyers agree there would have to be a very strong case to develop specific policies for ex-offenders (See link: page 8)

1.1.1.3.1. Raising public awareness of the needs of offenders and the work of the Criminal Justice System (See link: page 10)

1.1.1.4. Inconsistent leadership and resources for the support of volunteering for ex-offenders(See link: page 6)

1.1.1.4.1. A senior manager should champion ex-offender volunteering in their organisation (See link: page 9)

1.1.1.4.2. Include ex-offenders who can advise senior management (See link: page 2)

1.1.1.5. Scarcity of robust evidence regarding the added value of volunteering for ex-offenders (See link: page 6)

1.1.1.5.1. (Also see link: page 36)

1.1.2. Blockers

1.1.2.1. Dramatic growth of risk management in the voluntary and community sector (See link: page 36)

1.1.2.1.1. (Also, see link: page 19 - fig 3)

1.1.2.2. Volunteering organisations not welcoming ex-offenders as volunteers due to their past (See link: page 2)

1.1.2.2.1. Also, employer concerns that recruiting ex-offenders could put their organisation at risk (See link: page 6)

1.1.2.2.2. Also, stigma attached to a member of the community being in prison (See link: page 19 - fig 3)

1.1.2.3. 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)

1.1.2.3.1. Also, negative percetions of prisons and the probation service (See link: page 19 - fig 3)

1.1.2.4. 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)

1.2. Low influence

1.2.1. Beneficiaries

1.2.1.1. Ex-offenders who have benefitted from volunteering can progress to peer-volunteering roles and other advisory roles (See link: page 3)

1.2.1.1.1. Also, see the volunteering progression for an offender (See link: page 17 - fig 2)

1.2.1.2. Worthwhile and well-designed volunteer opportunities are greatly appreciated by ex-offenders (See link: page 3)

1.2.1.3. A long history of involving volunteers for prisoners and ex-offenders has resulted in numerous successes (See link: page 7)

1.2.2. Victims

1.2.2.1. Ex-offenders have few vocational skills and low level of educational attainment (see link: page 25)

1.2.2.1.1. Provide opportunities to develop via prison volunteering programmes (see link: page 15)

1.2.2.2. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974)  and Criminal Record Bureau Checks are too complex, and have too many exemptions (see link: page 29)

1.2.2.2.1. Before an offer is withdrawn in case of a disclosure, it must be discussed with the applicant (see link: page 16)

1.2.2.2.2. Disregard irrelevant restrictions in Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (see link: page 15)

1.2.2.2.3. Ensure volunteer adverts state that a criminal record will not necessarily prevent volunteering work (see link: page 16)

1.2.2.3. Employees may be wary about working alongside ex-offenders (See link: page 9)

1.2.2.3.1. Guidance for protection staff & volunteers who work alongside ex-offenders (See link: page 40)

1.2.2.4. Ex-offenders who volunteer may be treated less favourably than other volunteers (See link: page 3)

1.2.2.4.1. Organisations that recruit ex-offenders as volunteers to develop a policy to reflect this (See link: page 3)

2. Contribution - low interest stakeholders

2.1. High Influence

2.1.1. Positive influencers

2.1.1.1. Volunteering within the correctional services has developed in the absence of overall leadership and co-ordination - a fragmented approach (See link: page 18)

2.1.1.1.1. Inadequate leadership and co-ordination between prisons and probations services (See link: page 7)

2.1.1.1.2. Without a lead within prisons and probation services, nothing much will happen (See link: page 5)

2.1.1.1.3. Volunteer management practices can vary between and within prisons and probation services (See link: page 5)

2.1.1.1.4. Staff responsible for volunteer development have numerous other competing roles and responsibilities with prison or probation services (See link: page 5)

2.1.1.1.5. Probation services not building on, or recognising experience gained from undertaking volunteering in prisons (See link:page 26)

2.1.1.2. Third sector organisations working with ex-offenders can have poor sustainability and networking and poor access to development opportunities (See link: page 6)

2.1.1.2.1. There is momentum towards parthership-working and the development of the Faith and VCS Alliance (See link: page 6)

2.1.1.2.2. NOMS aims to better engage with diverse organisations, making use of their expertise and links to users and communities (See link: page 5)

2.1.1.3. There are few opportunities for prisoners to volunteer outside of the prison environment (See link: page 17)

2.1.1.3.1. 'Peer volunteer' prisoners have more opportunity for volunteering in the community (See link: page 21)

2.1.1.4. Prisons & probation services keen to encourage service users of 'peer volunteering' to move on to volunteering opportunities (See link: pages 41 & 50)

2.1.1.5. There is a wealth of experience and local knowledge in ex-offenders and volunteering (See link: page 6)

2.1.1.5.1. Well-established work of faith-based organisations (See link: page 5)

2.1.1.6. There is a conducive social and political environment to support volunteering for ex-offenders (See link: page 6)

2.1.1.6.1. Volunteering to help with reducing offending fits well with wider government policies and initiatives around the development of volunteering (See link: page 26)

2.1.2. Negative influencers

2.1.2.1. Some funders (and the general public) may not be supportive of projects that involve ex-offenders as volunteers (See link: page 3)

2.1.2.2. 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)

2.1.2.3. 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)

2.1.2.4. A rapidly changing environment in the Criminal Justice System, which creates uncertaintly and hinders the development of volunteering programmes (See link: page 19)

2.2. Low influence

2.2.1. Bystanders

2.2.1.1. Lack of motivation and self-confidence (see link: page 25)

2.2.1.1.1. Develop volunteering opportunities for prisoners (See link: page 15)

2.2.1.1.2. Provision of support from within the prison/probation services for ex-offenders to volunteer (See link: page 36)

2.2.1.1.3. Develop 'peer volunteering' opportunities for ex-offenders (See link: pages 13-14)

2.2.1.1.4. Establishing a recognition scheme for volunteering (See link: page 7)

2.2.1.2. Lack of social and professional networks which would assist ex-offenders to find a placement (see link: page 25)

2.2.1.2.1. Develop personal networks through ex-offender peer volunteers (See link: page 4)

2.2.1.3. Ex-offenders had not been asked to volunteer (See link: page 2)

2.2.1.4. A lack of awareness among the general public of the opportunities for engaging with the Criminal Justice System (See link: page 19 - fig 3)

2.2.1.4.1. Engaging local people in developing local solutions to local problems (See link: page 15)

2.2.1.4.2. Raising public awareness of the needs of offenders and the work of the Criminal Justice System (See link: page 10)

2.2.1.4.3. Volunteer mentors for ex-offenders develops the relationship between offenders and the community (See link)

2.2.1.5. Plenty of volunteering roles for prisoners to engage with, to prepare them for integration into the community (See link: page 3)

3. Commitment

3.1. Achievement

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

3.1.1.1. (Also, see link: page 28)

3.1.1.2. (Also see link: page 5)

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

3.2. Status/Influence/Esteem

3.2.1. (also see link: page 32)

3.2.1.1. Disclosure, information must be kept secret by organisations when recruiting (see link: page 15)

3.2.1.2. Refrain from asking for information about criminal convictions until face-to-face (See link: page 58)

3.2.2. Ex-offenders can feel embarrassment and shame in having to disclose their criminal records (See link: page 3)

3.2.2.1. (Also see link: page 31)

3.2.2.1.1. Taking a measured and commonsence approach to dealing with applications from ex-offenders (See link: page 3)

3.2.3. Ex-offenders can feel exploited when not being paid for the work they are doing (See link: page 46)

3.2.3.1. Can feel rewards which equalled getting paid [e.g. training, lunch, travel expenses, work experience etc.] (See link: page 48)

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

3.2.5. Volunteering for ex-offenders can boost confidence and increase self-esteem (See link: page 3)

3.2.5.1. 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)

3.2.5.2. Volunteering gives ex-offenders a sense of empowerment and fulfilment that may hev been sought for unsuccessfully in the past (See link: page 3)

3.2.5.3. Volunteering helps to break the stigma attached to being an offender and highlights the potential to change (See link: page 4)

3.3. Social/Affiliation

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

3.4. Safety

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

3.4.2. Prejudice and stereotypes held by organisations put ex-offenders off from volunteering (see link: page 18)

3.4.2.1. Make sure your equal opportunities policy covers ex-offenders (see link: page 15)

3.4.2.1.1. Sample policy (See link: page 16)

3.4.2.2. Make it clear in adverts that applications from people with a criminal record will be welcomed (See link: page 1)

3.4.2.2.1. Some funders (and the general public) may not be supportive of projects that involve ex-offenders as volunteers (See link: page 3)

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

3.5. Practicality

3.5.1. Costs associated with volunteering if expenses are not covered (See link: page 3)

3.5.1.1. Encouraging service providers to implement an expenses policy (See link: page 7)

3.5.1.2. Ensuring the commissioning process recognises volunteer management costs (See link: page 33)

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

4. Competence

4.1. Skills/Capability

4.1.1. Organisational

4.1.1.1. Shortcomings in volunteer management practices, including poor recruitment mechanisms and non-payment of expenses (See link: page 19 - fig 3)

4.1.1.1.1. Recruitment practices

4.1.1.1.2. Role design

4.1.1.1.3. Ongoing support

4.1.1.1.4. Other management issues

4.1.1.2. Guidance for involving ex-offenders as volunteers

4.1.1.2.1. Summary checklist (See link)

4.1.1.2.2. Guidance on role-design, recruitment, induction, support and supervision (See link)

4.1.1.2.3. Project managers will benefit from advice and support of a specialist agency that works with ex-offenders (See link: page 9)

4.1.1.2.4. Recruiting responsibly: a guide for employers (See link: pages11-15)

4.1.2. Individual

4.1.2.1. Ex-offenders not used to interacting with public (see link: page 40)

4.1.2.1.1. 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)

4.1.2.2. Ex-offenders struggle in a volunteering context (various links)

4.1.2.2.1. Volunteers have trouble putting together a CV and find the process of an interview a challenge (See link: page 28)

4.1.2.2.2. 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)

4.1.2.2.3. 90% of offenders suffer from at least one mental health problem (See link: page 5)

4.1.2.2.4. Ex-offender volunteers would like 1-1 support from people with similar backgrounds (See link: page 4)

4.2. Knowledge

4.2.1. Organisational

4.2.1.1. The inappropriate and often unnecessary application of the CRB checks by organisations that involve volunteers (See link: page 1)

4.2.1.1.1. 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)

4.2.1.1.2. Criminal Records Bureau checks - guidance from the Cabinet Office (See link)

4.2.1.1.3. Guidance on the role of the Independent Safeguarding Authority and the new Vetting and Barring Scheme (See link)

4.2.1.2. Discrepancies can occur between what a potential volunteer had revealed and what is recorded on a Disclosure certificate (See link: page 2)

4.2.1.2.1. Delay a decision to recruit until the CRB has confirmed a mistake has been made (See link: page 2)

4.2.1.2.2. Guidance on gathering information about criminal records (See link: page 5)

4.2.2. Individual

4.2.2.1. Ex-offenders unaware of what volunteering is, and how it can be relevant (See link: page 13)

4.2.2.1.1. (Also see link: page 2)