Ex-offenders win top probation award
A probation team that employs ex-offenders to work with its toughest cases has won a national award for preventing criminals from committing further offences across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
The Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company’s (KSS CRC) Case Support Workers won the National Probation Awards’ Team of the Year Award after halving the number of cases in which offenders broke the rules of their probation, for example by committing further offences or missing meetings with their probation officer without a good reason.
What are case support workers?
KSS CRC employs former offenders as case support workers, who share their experiences of turning away from a life of crime with people on probation to encourage the latter to do the same. To minimise the risk of reoffending, case support workers also help individuals find a job, a place to live, and access services. Probation officers generally refer individuals to a case support worker after giving them a final warning that they risk breaching the terms of their probation, so case support workers deal only with the most challenging cases.
The team’s recognition comes after independent inspectors praised KSS CRC last month for employing former offenders saying the initiative was “testament to the strength of KSS CRC’s commitment to improving lives and promoting long-term change”.
Julian, a case support worker in the team based in Ashford in Kent, said:
"People on probation can relate to me as someone who has been through the criminal justice system. They tend to accept my advice and support because they know I have faced the problems and barriers that they are experiencing during my own rehabilitation."
Suki Binning, Chief Executive of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company, said:
"This award demonstrates that people with convictions can make a tangible difference to probation as we implement the sentence of the court and help to reduce the likelihood that people under supervision will reoffend.
We are proud of our commitment to employing ex-offenders and are determined to try new approaches and interventions which reduce reoffending and ultimately protect the public.”
The team were presented with their award at the ceremony at Tortworth Court last night (Wednesday, 3 July 2019)
Well done to all of the finalists!
Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), which runs the National Probation Awards, also shortlisted two other employees from KSS CRC:
Kirsten Davies, a Probation Service Officer in Wales, reached the finals in the Public Protection category for her work in helping service users resettle in the community.
Caroline McCormack, also a Probation Officer in Wales, reached the finals in the Changing Lives category after helping a man who had been abusing drugs for more than two decades to kick his addiction.
KSS CRC delivers probation services in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, in Wales, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset; and Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.