Evaluation of the User Voice Prison and Community Councils : Final Report

Barry, Monica and Weaver, Elizabeth and Liddle, Mark and Schmidt, Bethany and Maruna, Shadd and Meek, Rosie and Renshaw, Judy (2016) Evaluation of the User Voice Prison and Community Councils : Final Report. Nesta, London.

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User Voice commissioned Monica Barry and Beth Weaver of the University of Strathclyde – in association with Mark Liddle, ARCS Ltd, Bethany Schmidt, University of Cambridge, and with input from Shadd Maruna, Rosie Meek, and Judy Renshaw - to assess the implementation, operation and short-term outcomes of the Council model of prisoner/service user participation/integration. These Prison and Community Councils were located in six prisons and three CRC areas across England, namely HM Prisons Durham and Northumberland and the Northumbria CRC; HM Prisons Oakwood and Birmingham and the Staffordshire and West Midlands CRC; and HM Prisons Wormwood Scrubs and Pentonville and the London CRC. These sites were at different stages of implementing Councils; some Prison Councils had only been operating for months whereas others had been operating for four or more years, and the Community Councils had been operating for between a year and five years. These differences in stages of implementation - influenced as they were by the effects of systemic, organisational and operational changes heralded by the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda - necessarily affected the progression of the Council model and at the time of writing, the ‘Through-The-Gate’ approach to offer continuity between Prison and Community council membership had not been fully implemented.