The Equal and Fair Project was funded by Comic Relief and ran from February 2015 to March 2018. During this time, the Project Manager and members of the Working for Justice Group delivered a one-day training course on working with people with learning disabilities and autism in the criminal justice system 113 times, to a total of 1,641 front-line workers. These included: Prison, Police and Probation staff; Appropriate Adults; Custody Visitors; Liaison and Diversion workers; Magistrates and members of the Parole Board.
The involvement of people the co-trainers who had lived experience was reported to be a very important aspect of the course. According to the feedback reviewed, the training courses were delivered to a very high standard, very educational, in depth, well presented and extremely informative. The courses were seen as thought provoking and reflective. The Independent Evaluation of the project can be found here.
Before undertaking the above mentioned Equal & Fair project, KeyRing was already well established as a provider of awareness training for different areas of the criminal justice system.
In 2007, KeyRing and the Skillnet Group (now Bemix) were commissioned by the Department of Health to co-design a learning disability awareness training package. This was then delivered to over 600 staff from all prisons in England and Wales. The people trained worked in a range of roles. The Disability Liaison Officer from each prison was trained as well as someone from Healthcare and someone from Induction or Reception.
The feedback on the training was very positive. Many said how much having a co-trainer with learning disabilities improved the training. Staff said they liked the simple but effective adjustments that were suggested, such as changing communal clocks to digital to help people know the time, and they recognised that these could make a significant difference for someone with a learning disability in prison.
A DVD was also created by the Skillnet Group and the Working for Justice group for use in awareness training. It includes interviews with people with learning disabilities who talk about their experience and views of being in the Criminal Justice System as an offender with learning disabilities.
Co-trainers in the project have continued to help deliver criminal justice awareness training to this day. They have worked with both KeyRing and the Prison Reform Trust, to deliver training to prisons and probation services, court and magistrate staff and others. They also regularly speak about their experiences at relevant events and have even had several engagements at the House of Lords and House of Commons.
KeyRing has supported members of the Working for Justice group to get involved in other pieces of work, such as the No One Knows project and the Care not Custody project, both created by the Prison Reform Trust.