Celebrating and promoting the best in UK prisons, probation and youth justice
COMMENDEE 2011-12: Officer Jewkes is commended for her work co-ordinating HMP & YOI Gloucester’s approach to restorative justice, which has been recognised as best practice nationally.
[Jemma Jewkes gives her account of the work for which she was awarded a Commendation]
The Restorative Justice project at HMP Gloucester informed and influenced national policy on Restorative Practice. Restorative Practice (RJ/RP) brings together victims and offenders to discuss the impact of crime and repair harm caused. The process enables participants to ask questions and get answers. The process leads to high levels of victim satisfaction and reductions in reoffending.
The good practice surrounding delivering restorative practice interventions at HMP Gloucester follows best practice guidance, National Occupational Standards and approved specialist training.
Data is first gathered regarding the offender from reports held on Pnomis, the OaSYS, wing staff, security and the offender manager. Paper based eligibility test and risk assessment is then conducted. Any potential vulnerabilities or access requirements are also considered. If the offender is assessed as eligible, a face to face assessment of suitability is conducted. During the face to face assessment, factors such as vulnerability, and any potential risks and how these might be overcome are explored. The offender is also prepared for the possibility of meeting the direct victim of their offence. Key questions include:
Each question is explored in detail and the offender carefully listened to. Expectations are also carefully managed and the process explained in detail with any questions answered. If any safeguarding or signposting is needed, this is completed following the assessment. Offenders can often become quite emotional during assessment and therefore maybe left vulnerable. Wing staff are informed of this and all records updated. Throughout the process, offenders are ensued that it is voluntary and they may change their mind at any time.
If the offender is assessed as suitable, victim details are obtained with any flags or indicators of risk and the victim(s) are then contacted. The victims are initially contacted by telephone and a face to face meeting at their home arranged if they want to talk further about how they have been harmed by the crime. The victim is then assessed in a similar way to the offender and any signposting required completed. A pre-visit risk assessment is conducted to ensure the safety of the volunteer visiting the victim and a ‘buddy system’ in place. The victim is also assured that the process is completely voluntary and they may withdraw at any time.
If both parties are assessed as suitable and want to continue with restorative justice and meet face to face, a meeting in the prison is arranged. Any potential risks or queries are discussed with me and advice given. A date and time suitable to the victim is considered and the process of entering the establishment explained.
All assessments and the conference are facilitated by the same person to ensure continuity and to enable rapport and trust to be developed.
On the day of the conference the victim is either collected or met outside of the establishment according to individual need. The offender and the victim are contacted prior to the day of the conference to ensure they are okay, they still want to participate and to answer any further questions they may have. Soon after the conference both parties are also contacted to ensure they are okay and have no further needs. Any necessary signposting is indentified and completed. Throughout the process individual needs are taken into consideration and adaptations made where necessary and possible.
Further follow-up is conducted to measure the satisfaction of participants with the intervention. Records are kept throughout the process for evaluation purposes. Following the intervention records and updated and any professionals involved are then updated of the outcome.
[In September 2013 Jemma Jewkes provided an update on the work for which she won her Commendation]
Jemma Jewkes / Head of Standards and Professional Services
Restorative Justice Council
I won my Butler Trust Commendation in 2011 for the Restorative Justice project at HMP Gloucester. After designing and implementing the Restorative Justice project at HMP Gloucester (now closed), I took a career break to work for Restorative Solutions; developing, implementing and managing a county wide restorative justice partnership called ‘Restorative Gloucestershire’, The Restorative Gloucestershire project is still running. I then returned to the prison service on promotion as a Custodial Manager in the security department at HMP Leyhill. I am currently on another career break, working for the Restorative Justice Council as Head of Standards and Professional Services. I will return to HMP Leyhill in February 2014 but am unsure in what role as I will be surplus on my return.
In this role I secured the partnership with, and funding from, Restorative Solutions CIC to enable me to bring together key strategic partners to develop and implement the ‘Restorative Gloucestershire’ vision.
Restorative Gloucestershire is a group of statutory and voluntary sector partners that have joined with the aim of offering all people who come into contact with the criminal justice system (CJS) or who come into conflict in the community an opportunity to participate in a restorative intervention.
Restorative Solutions CIC have secured funding from the Ministry of Justice Victims and Witness Fund and The Underwood Trust to develop a neighbourhood restorative justice programme. Gloucestershire is one of the pilot areas, along with Newham and Avon and Somerset. As well as securing significant funding for the Gloucestershire Neighbourhood Restorative Justice Programme, Restorative Solutions CIC have won national training contracts for the MOJ (Ministry of Justice) rollout of Neighbourhood Restorative Justice Panels and NOMS (National Offender Management Service) rollout of Restorative Practice across the prison and probation service.
Restorative Gloucestershire will work with Restorative Solutions CIC to deliver joint project aims. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to participate in a restorative intervention, as needed, facilitated by a trained, skilled practitioner.
RJC, Head of Standards and Professional Services
I was bought into the RJC to lead on the development of national standards for restorative services and a restorative service quality mark across all sectors. During my time with the RJC I have also lead on the development of a national database and a national case management system for restorative practice. I have also led on the review and development of the accredited practitioner process, from a paper based to an on-line system, and simplifying the process. All projects have also included the development of all supporting IT (on-line self-assessment and portfolio systems) and other supporting documentation (handbooks for applicants, guidance manual for services). All projects are currently in testing and evaluation phase and to be launched in the near future. I am currently awaiting the outcomes of the field analysis to determine the need and what products and services we will prioritise developing next, for example developing the CPD programme, and accreditation for trainers.
[The following article appeared in issue 4 of the Butler Trust’s magazine, Inspire]
Jemma Jewkes won a commendation for her far-reaching work in restorative justice – the process of convening a case conference between the victim and the offender. She has not only introduced a successful RJ model to HMP Gloucester, but has set up a community interest company, Restorative Gloucester, to manage the prison project and take RJ countywide. Through partnership working she is now helping to develop national policy. After studying criminology, Jemma worked with a youth offending team before joining the prison service as a prison officer – something she had always wanted to do, she tells Inspire. She approached her governor about introducing restorative justice – ‘he told me to go for it, if I could find the funding,’ she says.
Eventually, with great support from management and colleagues, and funding from the local criminal justice board, she got the project off the ground. Overcoming the setback of a bad car accident, which meant a few months off work, she started the project in September 2009, working with offenders at HMP Gloucester. Soon they had built links with Gloucestershire Probation Trust, the police and victim support.
Jemma recruited a team of volunteers who would be carrying out the RJ interventions. They needed to be trained to the necessary skill level, so she gave them a three-day course that fitted in with the Restorative Justice Council’s best practice guidance in restorative solutions. This included teaching them to assess candidates’ suitability to participate in the scheme, and the basics of restorative practice.
‘We do a paper assessment to see if the case is suitable,’ she explains. ‘We look at details of the offence, what happened, who’s been affected and what sort of things they could do to make it better. We also check they’re not blaming the victim.’ It’s a voluntary process and a sensitive one, making sure conditions are right. ‘When the offender starts to feel guilty, there’s potential,’ she says.
The process involves a face-to-face meeting between offender and victim to talk to each other, facilitated by a volunteer. ‘Sometimes there’s an apology, sometimes something practical comes out if it,’ says Jemma. Volunteers give feedback from the meetings, so help the team improve their service. The idea of practice-sharing with other areas of the country came about when other jails began to contact Jemma to ask how Gloucester was doing RJ and whether visits could be arranged to share experience. ‘I’d tell them, this is what worked for our establishment – feel free to take bits you like and change things that don’t work for you. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel,’ she says.
All areas of the criminal justice system in the county are involved in Restorative Gloucestershire, which Jemma manages. She coordinates shared resources and training and has been working on a national rollout with NOMS. ‘Partnership working has been key to making this successful,’ she says. ‘Without that it wouldn’t have happened. We’re very lucky in Gloucestershire in that it’s a particularly good area for partnership working and the ACC and police have been fantastic at driving it forward.’
The commendation from the Butler Trust feels fantastic, she says, ‘because you put in so much hard work and effort and sometimes it feels like a kick in the teeth when you’ve got no funding. Having that recognition drives you on again.’ That, and seeing the successful conferences between victims and offenders. ‘It’s so powerful and such a cathartic experience for the people involved,’ she says. ‘That’s why we’re doing this and why we’re trying to make it available to everybody who wants it.’
For more information: contact Restorative Gloucestershire