Our clients are central to everything we do. Becoming involved with the criminal justice system can happen for a number of reasons, but what ever the reason, this can be a scary and daunting time, whether it’s the first time or not. Lincolnshire Action Trust offers a range of services and advice for those going through the court process, in prison, about to be released or serving a sentence in the community. These services include:
What to expect at Court
If you are due to appear in Court and there is a chance you could go to prison (your solicitor will be able to advise if this is the case), there are ways you can prepare and the resources below are designed to help you do this.
What to expect at Prison
Housing can be one of the most challenging aspects of reducing re-offending. Having a place to call your own after being released from prison can be the first step on a different path and any delay in acquiring accommodation can have a negative impact.
Via our Departure Lounge at HMP Lincoln, we work closely with housing providers and local councils to get ex-offenders settled into new accommodation quickly once they leave prison. We are also able to apply for funding on behalf of individuals to purchase essential household items such as a cooker or fridge.
Drug and Alcohol Misuse
Lincolnshire Action Trust works in conjunction with a number of services from across the county including those specialising in the treatment and rehabilitation of drug or alcohol misusers. Please speak to one of our staff if you wish to access support for substance misuse or you have a family member affected by this.
Employment, Training and Education
Lincolnshire Action Trust has a team of experienced staff who offer everything from the initial employment assessment to follow-on support and referrals to address the needs of offenders as they prepare for the world of work, both during their stay in prison and once they have been released.
As well as supporting access to courses from skills for life with local voluntary organisations through to the Open University, the employability team also supports prisoners to make the most of the learning and training opportunities available to them while in prison.
The team offers free support in a number of areas to aid improved employability and confidence. These include:
- Preparing a CV and how to use key information in a covering letter
- Practising face-to-face and telephone interview techniques
- Guidance on job search tools and relevant agencies
- Advice on if and how to disclose a criminal conviction to a potential employer
- Information and support to address learning and training courses
- Advocacy with employers and placement providers
- Ongoing in-work support
Linking these opportunities to future career aims can be highly motivational, and by supporting individuals to access relevant skills and training, they are able to improve their employability, which in turn can reduce the risk of re-offending.
In addition to the support offenders receive to help them gain meaningful employment, one of the most important services offered is support with disclosure of their criminal record.
Disclosure is the main barrier that most offenders face when applying for work. We recognise how vital it is that individuals are fully aware of their legal obligations and we therefore advise and coach individuals to be able to identify the most effective method of disclosing their criminal record.
Advice on how the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) apply to an individual’s conviction(s) along with a breakdown the requirements of the Police Act 1997 are discussed at length to aid understanding. In addition, the different types of disclosure, what is classed as 'spent' and 'unspent' and how and what to disclose in situations such as job interviews and college application forms is addressed.
Much of our employability support is supported by the European Social Fund.
As part of the FIRST Centre, LAT has a Release Support Officer who can mentor and assist men who are close to release and, importantly, this support continues on release from HMP Lincoln.
The individual's needs are assessed and then a personal action plan is agreed together so that they have the best chance when they get out of prison.
Assistance could be anything from attending appointments at the doctor, going to the Job-centre and interviews or helping to secure housing. It may be that help is needed to overcome other barriers, such as building self-esteem or dealing with mental health issues.
The help can be long-term and is based on what is of most benefit to the person we are supporting.
If you know someone who may benefit from this help, please contact us via FIRST on 01522 663355, come in to see our team if you are visiting HMP Lincoln or email us on FIRST@LATcharity.org.uk
Lincolnshire Action Trust has a long history of delivering effective resettlement support for both male and female prisoners across the prison estate. This involves undertaking an assessment of need, usually covering the pathways of housing, ETE and finance and debt. An individual action plan will then be agreed with each client to ensure all needs are addressed ready for release. We liaise closely with key agencies including CRC and NPS, as well as with family members to ensure resettlement plans are realistic and appropriate.
LAT specialises in supporting the very specific resettlement needs of sex offenders and we deliver the resettlement service in both HMP Whatton and HMP Stafford.
It is widely recognised that women within the criminal justice system can benefit from a different approach to addressing their needs. Our Women's Service operates across Greater Lincolnshire and delivers a variety of support and courses within a confidential and safe environment. The service is designed specifically to meet the needs of women who find it difficult to access mainstream services.
Every woman accessing the Women's Service will be assigned an individual Key Worker to offer support and guidance about a wide range of needs including: health, relationships, housing, parenting, substance misuse, benefits and debt, domestic abuse, education, employment and confidence building.
We also utilise other specialist agencies to offer support where relevant.