Commissioning us - Criminal Justice: Court or Pre-prison liaison and diversion
The need for liaison and diversion support in Courts
The court process can be confusing and overwhelming for the families and carers of people with mental illness. For people with a mental illness, the criminal justice system can exacerbate their existing condition, and impacting on court proceedings.
There is often insufficient attention paid to what has brought a person to court. The root causes are often overlooked, meaning that some people are locked in a reoffending spiral, which is hard to escape.
Although I will be working full time, I will still be involved with CASS as much as possible as it has helped me so much, not only in experience, but with my confidence and people skills.
What we do
We provide court-based Community Advice and Support Services in Plymouth, Bodmin and Truro. Our advice and support in courts for offenders and their families helps with resettlement and reintegration, with the aim of reducing reoffending.
Our support is integral to the successful operation of Community Justice Courts in Plymouth, taking a problem-solving approach and working in partnership with designated police and probation officers. We ensure that families and partners of prisoners are assisted at the point of sentence so they understand more about the court and prison systems, and are better able to keep in touch. We continue to work with offenders afterwards, providing an open door and signposting people to other support services.
How charities can help courts address the root causes of crime
Voluntary bodies can play a vital role in the criminal justice system by connecting up defendants with community resources
Principles of Community Justice
- Courts listening to the community and responding to their needs
- Ensuring Judges and Magistrates make best use of all their available powers when dealing with offenders
- Identifying and dealing with the causes of offending behaviour
- Making sure offenders still feel like part of the community so they are less likely to re-offend
- All criminal justice organisations working together with other relevant services to help the community
I cannot put into words how important your support has been and how, without your professional intervention and guidance, the situation would have resulted in a very negative outcome for [these service users].
Nick, Health Care Professional
Judy is a recovering alcoholic who lived with an alcoholic friend. When her friend evicted her, she tried to approach a local housing agency to address her homelessness. Unfortunately, this visit did not go well. Judy had started drinking and was emotionally unstable, as a result. Her behaviour at the agency resulted in the police being called and Judy was arrested.
Judy visited her local Community Advice and Support Service, run by Rethink Mental Illness, where she told us that she really wanted to get her life back on track, but had been banned from attending the housing agency. We contacted the agency and persuaded them to arrange another housing interview - on the condition we accompanied Judy. She was polite and helpful at the interview, and had brought all the required information.
Judy was delighted and relieved afterwards. We sat down and explained the processes to her, and agreed to attend further interviews, when required. Despite having unsatisfactory living arrangements for more than a year, this was the first time Judy felt supported enough to take control of her situation.
Judy is now maintaining an independent tenancy in the private sector.
You may be interested in:
Criminal Justice: Resettlement after prison
Criminal Justice: Talking therapies in prisons
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays