Displaying items by tag: families
DiversityInCare is a charity working with disadvantaged communities throughout the United Kingdom. They aim to help adults, children and families battling a wide range of issues associated with drug and alcohol abuse through their multi-agency services.
Their fields of work include consultancy, residential, outreach and floating support. They help men, women and their families with whatever combination of problems they have in order to prevent them taking steps back in their lives.
On 18 September 2013 the 700 Club marked its 16th year providing temporary accommodation and support services to vulnerable individuals, families and couples who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless and/or are in condition of need, hardship or distress.
The services they provide include:
- Supported hostel accommodation for individuals and couples aged 18+.
- Housing related floating support for those with substance misuse problems
- Out of hours emergency food
- Basic skills and employment training
There is no shortage of research exploring the relationship between involvement in the criminal justice system and increased problems in accessing housing. A substantially high proportion of prisoners are known to have accommodation needs at point of release; according to the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction survey, 79 per cent of prisoners who reported being homeless before custody were reconvicted in the first year after release, compared with 47 per cent who did not report being homeless before custody (Williams et al., 2012). Evidence suggests that lack of adequate housing upon release counteracts the assistance that is provided whilst an individual is in custody; thus, a concentration on services focused towards accommodation offers not only practical solutions to a lack of housing, but holistic support for those who find themselves in unstable circumstances upon re-entering the community.
In January 2013, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) undertook a research project for the housing charity, St Mungo’s, on the housing needs of women from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups leaving HMP Holloway. Organisations such as St Mungo’s facilitate services for those currently serving a prison sentence in order to help with the various challenges faced by individuals upon release; once ‘beyond the gate’, women in particular experience a variety of difficulties in finding accommodation for themselves and their families. The aim of the service for BME women is not only to help meet housing need, but additionally provide follow-up assistance to guide women beyond their housing placement and, if necessary, refer them to other services.
The goal of the research was to offer a series of recommendations which would assist St Mungo’s in engaging with the current practical challenges facing its services, and to ultimately help resolve these issues in order to benefit both the staff and service users. This involved generating evidence about the housing needs of BME women leaving prison, and about the needs that may affect outcomes from its service. The research involved the analysis of data provided by St Mungo’s in order to establish the nature of the relationships between housing needs and outcomes. The project team, led by Research Director, Dr Roger Grimshaw, conducted interviews with six service users to explore their views about the attributes of a good service, and the methods by which a good service should engage with its users. Interviews were also undertaken with St Mungo’s staff in order to find out how they view the relationship between needs and outcomes, and what, in their view, could be changed to assist in the improvement of the outcomes for its users.
The final report from the research team at CCJS put forward a number of long and short term recommendations to the organisation regarding service user needs, outcomes and further service development. Figures obtained from St Mungo’s demonstrated that the most frequent outcome for service users was assistance with a placement through a Homeless Persons Unit (HPU), followed by residing in temporary housing or staying with friends or family. The data revealed that those who had been sleeping rough before they were convicted had disengaged with the service; the report therefore suggested St Mungo’s could consider how a service for those who had been ‘rough sleepers’ could be further developed. Evidence indicated just how complex and demanding it is for a service such as St Mungo’s to access accommodation for its users. Many housing needs arose from the inability to retain a tenancy, resulting in the number of those in temporary accommodation upon release from prison considerably higher than the number of those in temporary accommodation beforeimprisonment.
The interviewing process noted the importance of continued ‘beyond the gate’ support as a significant attribute of a successful service, and it was clear that vital to most women was the assistance they received in helping to care for their families upon release from prison. Whilst palpable throughout the interviews with service users was the appreciation for the tireless perseverance and hard work of the St Mungo’s staff, women frequently expressed a bleak and negative view of housing and the growing number of shortages caused by significant external barriers outside of the organisation’s control. The research recognises that much of the housing instability is perpetuated and exacerbated through the implementation of short term, repetitive prison sentences, and the practice of ‘recycling’ convicted women through the prison system is resulting in the social punishment of not only the women themselves, but their families as well.
Williams, K., Poyser, J. and Hopkins, K. (2012), Accommodation, homelessness and reoffending of prisoners: Results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SCPR) survey, Research Summary, 3/12, London: Ministry of Justice.
Out There supports families, in the Manchester areas, of prisoners.
They aim to:
- reduce the isolation experienced by families of prisoners
- maintain family ties
- increase the number and involvement of volunteers
- increase awareness in the wider community of the issues for prisoners' families
- offers one to one contact, home visits, telephone support and support groups
- acts as an intermediary with prison services and provides escorts to prison
- informs families of support and services available to them
- recruits and trains volunteers and introduces them to families
- gives talks to organisations and distributes information
Kwads supports both drug users and their carers. They aim to meet the needs in the local community by collaborating with other drug and alcohol service providers across the wider Bristol area, ensuring that everyone has access to services they need.
After an initial assessment, each client is assigned a support worker who helps them to progress through the programme. Kwads also offer an education group training programme running for one evening session a week for 10 weeks. The course looks at themes such as stress, coping, boundaries, and health and wellbeing. It also provides individuals with tools and techniques to cope with difficult situations and emotions.
AFFECT is an organisation for the families and friends of those serving long periods in custody. They offer professional counselling on a one to one basis in person or via the telephone, and also give support with a volunteer who has experience of coping when someone is in prison for a long time. They can accompany those attending court and can offer telephone contact before, during and after the trial.
Happy (Help and Protect Prisoners' Youngsters) gives advice, counselling and free bus rides to families from all over Scotland who are visiting prisoners at HMP Kilmarnock and Shotts. Their aim is to help maintain contact between children and a parent serving time. Without transport, many families would not be able to make regular visits.
The Happy Bus offers a much needed support mechanism and can save not only money but time and energy for visitors.
Early Break offers a free, unique service to young people and their families who have issues with drugs and alcohol. The work they do initiates positive change and empowers individuals and their families to make significant alterations to their lives.They offer both group, and one-to-one help to families in which there are significant problems of substance misuse, and take the necessary steps to ensure that children’s voices are heard. A crucial aspect of Early Break is the focus on early intervention.
Early Break is the chosen Young Person's Drug and Alcohol Service for Bury, Rochdale and East Lancashire. It assists those aged up to 19 in Bury and Rochdale, whilst supporting young people aged up to 21 in East Lancashire.
Prison Chat UK (PCUK) comprises of people who have loved ones in prison in the UK with a forum and website offering advice for families and friends on topics ranging from the first night in custody to visiting times and keeping in touch.
All PCUK members are connected to the prison system in some way and can share their experiences. Their primary objective is to create a community for people to go and get support and answers when a loved one has been taken into custody, and queries are answered as quickly as possible.
• Accessing accommodation.
• Gaining the necessary skills to support themselves and their families.
• Addressing their emotional and health needs and improving their mental health.
• Support in finding employment.
Reset also work to address recurring problems such as drug and alcohol addiction and debt and financial difficulties.