Where to find out more
Here you will find a list of organisations and helplines that may be helpful to you.
Help or advice services in the criminal justice system
The Prison Advice and Care Trust (Pact) is a national charity that gives support to prisoners, people with convictions, and their families. The Charity operates a Prisoners' Families Helpline (0808 808 3444). The service receives over 700 calls a month about issues such as self harm, violence, drugs or family visiting.
Prisoners' Advice Service
The Prisoners’ Advice Service is an independent registered charity offering free legal advice and support to adult prisoners in England and Wales. This is done through a telephone advice line (0845 430 8923), letters clinic and legal outreach sessions, as well as providing information.
The Howard League
The Howard League is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities, fewer people in prison. The Howard League's legal team runs a free, confidential legal service that can be accessed through their helpline. The number is free to call for young people, including those in prison. Anyone can call the advice line if they think they have a problem that might have a legal answer. Tel: 0808 801 0308
Prison Reform Trust
Prisoners can telephone the Prison Reform Trust to get information on: Prison rules; Life in prison; Your rights in prison; Prison conditions; and How to get help in prison. Click here to see the numbers to call and the times the service is available
Central government organisations in the criminal justice system
The Ministry of Justice
The Ministry of Justice is a ministerial department of the British Government, and is supported by 32 agencies.
HM Prison and Probation Service
The HM Prison and Probation Service is now comprised of the Prison Service and the Probation Service together. They have an A to Z of information about prisons and probation, including everything from prison life to the use of electronic tags.
Some parts of the Prison Service are still available on a separate website. Click here to access. This website has up-to-date statistics about the prison population. There are also details about the rules, regulations and guidelines by which prisons are run. See http://www.justice.gov.uk/offenders/psos and http://www.justice.gov.uk/offenders/psis for further information.
Some parts of the Probation Service are also still accessed via a separate website
HM Courts & Tribunals Service
The HM Courts & Tribunals Service website contains general information about who they are (with a list of the type of courts and tribunals they have), a search facility for forms and leaflets, information on paying fees and paying fines online, and a facility to find the right court or tribunal
The Home Office
The Home Office has responsibility for the 43 police forces in England and Wales and the Attorney General has responsibility for the Crown Prosecution Service.
The Crown Prosecution Service
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was set up to prosecute criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. The CPS advises the police on cases for possible prosecution, reviews cases submitted by the police for prosecution, determines the charge in the more serious and complex cases, prepares cases for court, and presents those cases at court.
The Police website provides local police force contact numbers, and information about how the criminal justice system works in the UK.
Making a complaint
The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) is the organisation set up to investigate suspected miscarriages of justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Commission is completely independent. Their website explains whether you can apply, how to make an application, and what happens next: https://ccrc.gov.uk/making-application/
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales and sets the standards by which the police should handle complaints. It is independent, making its decisions entirely independently of the police and government. You can use the complaints system to complain about both police officers and members of staff working for a police force.The IPCC also considers appeals from people who are dissatisfied with the way a police force has dealt with their complaint.
Organisations specialising in Easy Read
Expert organisations in this field include:
KeyRing Living Support Networks has been working to promote the concept and the use of Easy Read in the Criminal Justice System for several years. You can find out more about their work here. You can also click here to see some examples of Easy Read documents designed for use in the Criminal Justice System
CHANGE creates bespoke accessible information in Easy Read and video formats for organisations all over the world. Some resources are available for free here.
Photo-symbols have a full colour set of pictures that could be used by people making Easy Read. They offer a range of subscriptions from 1 to 500 users.
Inspired Services offer a range of products to help you make Easy Read documents. They also have a range of EasyDocs, Easy Read leaflets ready for you to finish off by downloading and adding your logo and contact details.
The Clear Communication People
The Clear Communication People produce a range of picture books which can be a useful communication tool for people with learning disabilities.
Voluntary organisations that may be able to help (learning disability and the criminal justice system)
BILD (British Institute for Learning Disabilities)
BILD uses its skills, knowledge and experience to turn policy into practice, solve problems and improve support. It works with Government departments, local authorities, health trusts, service providers and mainstream organisations. Useful resources to do with the criminal justice system are available here
Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities
The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities is part of the Mental Health Foundation, which is a charity. They look at how to change things that are not going well for people with learning disabilities and suggest ways to make them better. The website provides pages relating to the criminal justice system, including information for front-line staff and practitioners.
The National Austistic Society (NAS)
NAS has a section on its website devoted to criminal justice. Here you will find information about autistic people, tips for initial police contact, interviews and court appearances, ways that parents and carers can help, and where to find further information and training. Their Autism Helpline enquiry service provides impartial, confidential information along with advice and support for autistic people and their families and carers.
Association for Real Change (ARC)
Association for Real Change is a forward thinking National Charity with a dedication to promoting REAL CHANGE in the learning disability sector. ARC has a project: People with Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System
SOLD Supporting Offenders with Learning Disabilities
SOLD aims to reduce offending and improve support for offenders with learning disabilities in Scotland, by raising awareness of the challenges for people with learning disabilities through providing information, resources and training. They have assembled a good range of resources relevant to the criminal justice pathway in Scotland.
Mencap is a UK learning disability charity working with people with learning disabilities and their families and carers. Their website is here.
Voluntary organisations that may be able to help (learning disabilty)
Challenging Behaviour Foundation
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) is are the only charity for people with severe learning disabilities who display behaviour described as challenging. CBF provides information and support, running workshops and speaking up for families on a national level.
Respond exists in order to lessen the effect of trauma and abuse on people with learning disabilities their families and supporters. Respond operates a Helpline: a national, free service for children, young people, adults and elders with learning disabilities who are experiencing trauma, loss, abuse or other emotional difficulties and for the parents, carers and professionals who support them.
Voluntary organisations that may be able to help (criminal justice system)
Prison Reform Trust
The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) is an independent UK charity working to create a just, humane and effective penal system. Its website has a useful section of organisations that can help and advice and information for prisoners and their families
POPS is an organisation established by offenders’ families for offenders’ families. The organisation aims to provide a variety of services to support anyone who has a link with someone in prison, prisoners and other agencies. POPS helps with the stress of arrest, sentence, imprisonment and release.
Prisoners Abroad is a human rights and welfare charity providing aid, advice and support to 4,000 people a year affected by overseas imprisonment. The organisation assists British citizens during their incarceration, when they return to the UK and need access to resettlement services. It also supports their family and friends.
Nacro’s Justice team works with young and adult offenders in prisons and in the community. Nacro offers a wide range of services in custody, and in the community, to support people to change their lives and to prevent and reduce crime and the risk of reoffending. Advice and guidance is available to help people gain secure, stable and affordable accommodation and to help them get back into education, training or employment. A helpline exists for resettlement offering practical advice for people with criminal records.
Clinks supports the voluntary sector in criminal justice. The website has a good list of resources, including reports, briefings and e-bulletins
St Giles Trust
St Giles Trust is a charity helping ex-offenders and disadvantage people to move their lives forward. They are the first criminal justice charity to place ex-offenders at the heart of services by training them to become professional, qualified advice workers through the Peer Advisor Programme.
Women in Prison
Women in Prison supports women to avoid and exit the criminal justice system and campaigns for the changes needed to deliver support services and justice for women.