Criminal Justice

We’re helping to shape a more effective criminal justice system through our funding and our engagement with government

How we're Influencing Policy and Practice

The criminal justice system is under extreme pressure. There is a crisis in prisons. Government has admitted that Transforming Rehabilitation was a failure. Amid this, many small and specialist criminal justice charities have been struggling to survive. Yet the expertise, connections and reach of these organisations are needed more than ever.


We want to support charities to change this problematic system. We’re funding charities to do this across four priority areas:

  • supporting the specialist voluntary sector to operate, become stronger and to speak up within the current very difficult prisons and probation environment;
  • improving the policy and operating environment for smaller charities, particularly by seeking to influence the new probation system;
  • influencing work further “upstream” in the criminal justice system to help divert and reduce people entering prison in the first place;
  • influencing support for specific demographic groups within the criminal justice system.


We’ve awarded funding to 17 specialist charities and partnerships to influence change under these priority areas. Projects range from challenging discriminatory treatment received by Muslim prisoners, to supporting smaller specialist charities to speak up in a difficult environment, or calling for early intervention and better alternatives to prison.


Find out more about the projects we’re funding here and why we are investing £2.5m to help specialist charities influence change in the criminal justice system.


We have been working with Ministry of Justice to help shape the new probation system. We have submitted evidence to government and brought together criminal justice charities we fund with Ministry of Justice officials. It’s critical that the new system works for small and local charities – and that means making sure funding can reach these vital services.


Our work is also looking at how to prevent people from ending up in the criminal justice system in the first place. Getting arrested is the first point of entry into the system and can have a significant detrimental effect on someone’s life. Too often, women, in particular, are arrested for non-violent crimes. In many cases, accessing support for complex needs would have a much more positive effect. To that end, we’re supporting Howard League for Penal Reform to work with the police to reduce the number of women arrested.

Further Reading

You can read our submissions to government, pushing for change in the criminal justice system below

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