A new initiative which aims to benefit victims, offenders and the local community has been launched by Victims First Northumbria (VFN) and HMP Northumberland, which is run by Sodexo.
The Restorative Engagement For Offender Recovery Management (REFORM) project aims to help victims of crime by working with offenders at HMP Northumberland who are remorseful and want to repair the harm caused by their behaviour.
Through a new joint approach, a member of staff from VFN will be based within the prison to coordinate the project and engage with offenders to work towards their participation in suitable restorative justice interventions with their victim.
Trained and experienced volunteers will help support the project, assisting in the process of bringing together victims of crime with the person who caused them harm.
This will allow them to seek answers to their questions and help them cope and recover from their experience, as well as providing the offender with the opportunity to make amends, realise the true impact of their actions and, ultimately, reduce their offending behaviour.
Ruth Parker, CEO of VFN, said: “VFN has a proven track record in supporting victims in Northumbria to cope and recover from their experience and allows them access to restorative interventions.
“This project is about working closely with HMP Northumberland to develop our offering further and building better futures for everyone.”
Tony Simpson, director of HMP Northumberland, added: “Sodexo are proud to support the work of VFN and to provide the funding for the initiative, which is generated from work undertaken by prisoners.”
HMP Northumberland is a working prison and inmates are employed to carry out work including laundry, waste recycling and gardening activities. Monies earned from these activities have been used to fund the REFORM Project.