The group started in 2008 to support the No One Knows
programme run by the Prison Reform Trust
. This work aimed to highlight the needs of offenders with learning disabilities and learning difficulties. The Working for Justice group were able to offer their views and experience to help with the project planning and the approach the programme should take.
The Prison Reform Trust recruited the help of KeyRing Living Support Networks to set up and run the group. Many of the group members are also Members of KeyRing housing networks from across the country (although this is not a pre-requisite for membership of the Working for Justice group). Each 4-hour meeting typically includes at least two substantial agenda items which the group work on with the support of staff. We work with members to develop their presentation and group-working skills to ensure the meetings are extremely productive. This also helps those members of the group who regularly speak at other events or training courses addressing the issue of people with learning disabilities in the Criminal Justice System. We also welcome new members, with the relevant experience, to the Working for Justice group.
Usually representatives from outside organisations attend and ask the group for their help on a specific piece of work. Guests typically pay a contribution to the meeting and travel costs. In return they receive expert feedback on their proposed policy or project changes or for any resources that they are creating. Feeding back on draft Easy Read documents forms a large part of the group’s work.
The group won an award at the National Learning Disabilities Awards
(2014) for their work making the Criminal Justice System more accessible (easy to understand) for people with learning disabilities. See right for a picture of some of the members of the Working for Justice group holding their trophy.