Criminal Justice and Social Investment | Big Society Capital

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Criminal Justice and Social Investment

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This Social Investment Insights paper focuses on how social investment can be used to support the criminal justice sector.

The criminal justice system encompasses the functions of the police, prosecution, courts and judiciary, prisons, youth justice services and probation. Criminal justice in the UK is in the process of radical reform in a number of areas. This is exemplified by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme, where 80% of probation services are in the process of being contracted out by the MoJ from the public sector to be provided by private or social sector organisations. This also includes for the first time statutory provision of services for those with less than twelve month sentences and meeting individuals on release from prison (“through the gate” services).

There are nearly 1,500 charities and social enterprises whose primary mission is to work with people in contact with the criminal justice system. There are a further 13,500 organisations who work with individuals affected by the criminal justice system as part of their broader social objectives. Budgets are being squeezed for those organisations that have received grants or contracted with government to provide services, and those working with people on leaving prison or in the community may now find themselves having to get up to speed on subcontracting with a prime contractor as part of Transforming Rehabilitation.

This paper sets out Big Society Capital’s thinking on how social investment can play a role in the area of criminal justice and identifies three priority areas in the short to medium term:

1. Proven, scalable, high capital, high impact opportunities

2. Enabling social investment to play a role in central and local government contracting

3. Supporting innovation and early intervention through outcomes based financing 

Last updated | 
12 January 2015