The Ynys Môn Citizens Advice Bureau has been praised for their hard work supporting the rehabilitation of ex-offenders by the Secretary of State for Justice, the Rt Hon Robert Buckland MP QC.
In the House of Commons Chamber, MP for Ynys Môn Virginia Crosbie asked the Lord Chancellor how he was “supporting charities such as Fine Cell Work and the Irene Taylor Trust, and Jackie Blackwell (CEO of the Citizens Advice Bureau), in this vital work?”.
Victoria Gillies, Executive Director Fine Cell Work (a charity and social enterprise with programmes both in prison and post release) said “The more coordinated support provided for ex-prisoners as they resettle back into the community the more likely they are to build independent, crime free lives. Virginia raises awareness of the importance of effective rehabilitation programmes being in place both in prison and post release to reduce the unacceptably high levels of reoffending”.
Also included in Ms Crosbie’s question, the Irene Taylor Trust is designed to “bridge the gap by offering a positive period of engagement that helps participants overcome barriers, build resilience and take the next steps towards engaging in relevant training and securing employment – providing the tools to begin rebuilding their lives beyond the prison gates.”
Their chair, Jane Anderson said “During the period of early lockdown we worked hard to reorient all of our services and continue to offer support and music-making activity to released prisoners on-line. This is really important and often a bit of a lifeline for them as they seek to rebuild their lives and crucially not to reoffend.”
The CEO of Ynys Môn Citizens Advice, Jackie Blackwell, echoes the remarks saying “it is vital that offenders receive support whilst serving their sentence and upon release to ensure they are able to manage their lives and avoid re offending. Ynys Môn Citizens Advice supports offenders and their families with a variety of issues working with other specialist agencies to provide vital support services.”
In response to Ms Crosbie’s question, the Secretary of State replied “I pay tribute to my Honourable Friend for her passionate work in this area and her advocacy on behalf of the people of Anglesey. I recognise the value that organisations such as the ones she mentions can bring to supporting offenders and families through a challenging time. Our grants programme supports the piloting of new rehabilitation services and the further development of current programmes. I am delighted to be able to say that Ynys Môn’s citizens advice and the Irene Taylor Trust have both benefited from our grants programme, and I look forward to seeing the contributions they make to supporting prison leavers as they make the transition towards a new life.”