Criminal Justice

TSRC has conducted a two year study examining the role and involvement of the third sector in the criminal justice system.

The study examined the strategic position of voluntary and community organisations within the system, the role/s they play, and the barriers and opportunities they face. 

Key questions

  • What role does the third sector play in the resettlement of offenders?
  • what is the impact of volunteering on empowering offenders and ex-offenders to desist from crime, and form identities of socially valued members of the community?
  • What are the barriers that the third and statutory sector face in trying to accommodate each others’ agendas?
  • What is the effect of new commissioning strategies on the survival and ethos of the third sector, and its future within the criminal justice system?The first stage of the study consisted of interviews with stakeholders in the third sector and criminal justice arena (see Paper 34).The second stage of the research has involved conducting 293 interviews with prison and probation staff, third sector agency representatives and offenders in contact with third sector organisations.

Current work

These interviews have enabled us to examine the value and impact of third sector involvement in the resettlement of offenders from the perspectives of those who manage and deliver resettlement provision, as well as those who receive it - see article in Voluntary Sector Review.

We have conducted secondary analysis of existing datasets and carried out a national survey of 680 offenders. This has enabled us to explore the prevalence and scope of the third sector in Criminal Justice (see Paper 57), as well as the levels of awareness that offenders have of third sector organisations (see Paper 61). Also see the following paper and presentation:

Working Paper 77: Accommodation for ex-offenders: third sector housing advice and provision 

Presentation: Impact in Psychological Research (Dr Rosie Meek, Sept 2009)

Next steps

Ongoing analysis of the data continues to explore a number of related issues relevant to the role of the third sector in Criminal Justice.

Research contacts

  • Rosie Meek
  • Alice Mills