Government needs to do more to help charities working with prisonersBecky Slack
Government should do more to help charities improve prisoners' family relationships by being clearer about the outcomes it wants them to demonstrate and by improving access to data, says New Philanthropy Capital (NPC).
Additionally, the government and other funders such as grantmaking trusts and philanthropists should pay for high-quality measurement and monitoring. Such measures would only serve to improve the role charities play in improving prisoners' family relationships, which in turn helps reduce reoffending. Prisoners who are visited by a relative are 39 per cent less likely to re-offend within a year of release than those who receive no visits.
NPC has made the recommendations following a pilot project with an advisory group of experts in the field and six charities: Action for Prisoners' Families, Kids VIP, pact, POPS, Safe Ground and Storybook Dads. Tools were developed that monitored the experience of people visiting prison and how changes to the family relationships occurred as a result.
In addition to suggestions for government and funders, the NPC report, Improving prisoners' family ties: Piloting a shared measurement approach, also makes a number of recommendations for charities, including that they promote the importance of measurement to funders, that charities prioritise measurement not just for the benefit of funders but also to refine their own services and improve how they work; and to share experiences so other organisations can learn and develop.
"Charities are independent, responsive and innovative, playing a vital role in the criminal justice sector. But they face a challenge when it comes to capturing results and operating within a politically sensitive field," said the report's author. "The measurement tools created and the shared understanding of the theory of change open up opportunities for charities and funders to work together on measurement and develop the evidence base of the sector. We hope that lessons from this research will encourage and support those in other sectors to adopt a similar approach."
Picture source: New Philanthropy Capital (NPC)