As part of your sentence you may be required to do a programme. These are courses that have been specially designed to help you change your attitudes, thinking and offending behaviour.
They can involve group work and one-to-one sessions. We run a number of different programmes which tackle offences relating to domestic abuse, drink-driving, violent behaviour, substance misuse, hate crime, dealing with conflict. There are also programmes specifically designed for women.
How will a programme help me?
Taking part in a programme will give you a better understanding of why you’ve committed the crime and how to prevent it happening again. A programme can:
- make you aware of how your attitudes and beliefs can affect your behaviour help you to understand the impact of your emotions on decision making
- show you how to see things from another person’s point of view
- help you to develop positive relationships
- show you how to maintain change once you’ve finished the course
- encourage you to get involved in group sessions through a safe, respectful and interesting environment in which you can learn
Four key programmes
There are four key programmes, which are nationally accredited and approved by the Ministry of Justice. You may be required to complete one of our accredited programmes or a similar programme, depending on your personal circumstances and the crime you’ve committed. The four accredited programmes are:
Building Better Relationships
Building Better Relationships (BBR) is a programme for men who’ve been violent towards their partner. Using group work, it will help you to understand and manage your aggressive behaviour so that you don’t re-offend in the future.
There are 30 group sessions, with each one lasting up to 2 ½ hours. The course is split into four modules: Foundation, My Thinking, My Emotions and My Relationships. BBR will encourage you to think and behave in a more positive way so that stop causing harm to your family.
Thinking Skills is a programme been designed to help participants you understand and manage their behaviour so that they don’t re-offend in the future.
You’ll take part in 19 group sessions, with each one lasting up to 2 ½ hours.
The course is split into three modules: Self Control, Problem Solving and Positive Relations. You’ll also have a one-to-one session with your facilitator to discuss the programme and how it fits with you and your lifestyle.
Drink Impaired Drivers
This programme is for people whose offence relates to drinking and driving. It focuses on helping you to understand how alcohol affects your vision, concentration and reaction times. It also looks at the effects that drinking and driving can have on victims of road accidents and their families. There are 14 group sessions, with each one lasting up to 2 ½ hours.
RESOLVE is a programme designed for men who’ve been convicted of violent offences. Taking part in the course will help you to learn new skills and find better ways to manage and control your behaviour.
There are four individual sessions and 23 group sessions, with each one lasting up to 2 ½ hours. The course is split into six modules: Foundation, Understanding my Aggression, Thinking and Attitudes, Emotions and Conflict Management, Lifestyle and Associates and Living my Preferred Life.
Rehabilitation Activity Requirements
A Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR) forms part of a Community Order or Suspended Sentence Order. It was introduced in 2015 to help cut re-offending rates and offer more structured support (rehabilitation), suited to each person’s needs.
When you receive your sentence, the court will decide on the maximum number of activity days needed for your rehabilitation. Your probation worker will then assess your needs and, together, you’ll choose a package of activities likely to give you the best outcome. The aim is to help you get the skills and support you need to move away from crime for good.
The RAR will include a combination of activities carried out by you, as well as support provided by your probation worker, including:
Help with accommodation
Having a safe and permanent place to live can give you a more stable, independent lifestyle. We can offer advice and support to help you find a more suitable home or keep the one you already have.
- We can help you to: find a home to rent, apply for housing benefit, manage any existing rent or mortgage arrears, get legal aid, get help furnishing your home, and lead an independent lifestyle.
Finding a job or a training course
We can show you how to improve your future job prospects through coaching, mentoring and group sessions. Looking at the skills and experience you have, we’ll work with you to develop a personal development plan.
- We can help you to: keep an existing job, find and apply for a new job or volunteering opportunity, look for suitable education and training courses, write a CV and fill in applications, manage interviews and tell potential employers about your conviction, get funding for training and educational courses.
Managing your money
We can help you to maximise your income and manage your money so that you’re able to pay your bills and household expenses.
- We can help you to: budget and save, apply for any benefits you might be entitled to, manage and reduce your debt, set up a basic bank account.
Support from a mentor
We can match you with a mentor who’s had similar experiences to you. A mentor can help you to develop better life skills, find job opportunities and gain more confidence.
- A mentor can give you advice and support on: accessing healthcare, sports and social activities in your area, as well as help with practical tasks such as filling in forms, preparing for interviews, or managing your money.
Family and parenting support
Maintaining healthy and fulfilling relationships with your partner and family could be one of the most important parts of your rehabilitation. We can teach you how to communicate better with those around you, improve your parenting skills and learn how to deal with conflict.
- We can help you to: improve your relationships with close and extended family, talk about feelings and experiences through one-to-one sessions or group discussions, get specialist relationship support.
Support for women
This service offers dedicated one-to-one support in a female-only environment. We can help with complex problems such as addiction or depression, as well as healthy eating, managing a home and confidence building.
- We can help you to: manage your money, get training in parenting and anger management, search for a job, choose and maintain fulfilling relationships, or refer you to specialist organisations to get support with addiction, domestic abuse, sexual exploitation, anxiety or depression.
Curfew Order / Home Detention Curfew
If your sentence includes a Curfew Order it means that you’ll have to stay in your home at certain times, each day.
You’ll be fitted with an electronic tag usually around your ankle and a monitoring box will be installed in your home.
The curfew could last up to twelve hours a day, and is often overnight. If you’re not at home during the curfew hours or the device is tampered with, the monitoring centre will tell us. We will investigate your absence and you might be sent back to court.
The purpose of a curfew is to help break the pattern of behaviour that could lead to crime. A curfew can run for a minimum of two weeks to a maximum of six months.
If you’re assessed as suitable for a curfew while in prison, you could be released early. This is known as a Home Detention Curfew. The length of the original sentence affects the length of the curfew period. If the curfew is breached, you risk being returned to prison until your sentence is served.
Community Payback is unpaid work carried out in the community under our supervision.
Whilst it’s given as a punishment, it can also be a rewarding experience as it gives you an opportunity to work as part of a team, learn new skills, build your confidence and get job satisfaction.
Work could include: graffiti removal, street clean ups, gardening and landscaping, painting and renovation, improvements to parks and green spaces, and work for local charities.
The court will tell you how many hours of Community Payback you’ll need to do as part of your sentence. It could be anything from 40 hours to 300 hours. If you’re in full-time work, education or training, you’ll have to do at least six hours each week, which can be completed at weekends. If you’re unemployed, you might have to do a minimum of 18 hours a week, over three days.
You’ll be supervised by experienced staff who work to high health and safety standards.
You need to make sure you arrive for work on time and you must tell staff in advance if you’re unable to do any sessions.
If you don’t turn up for work without good reason, or you break the rules, we’ll give you a warning. You can only have one warning in 12 months – after that, you could go back to court and get more Community Payback hours or a different sentence.
If you’ve been given an Attendance Centre requirement, you’ll have to visit a designated centre such as a community centre on an agreed date, usually a Saturday.
At the centre, you’ll be expected to take part in a range of activities and while this acts as a punishment through the loss of your leisure time, you’ll also get support and opportunities to work on areas such as:
- education, training and employment
- vocational skills
- short courses to help with alcohol or drug misuse
- exploring the impact your offence has had on your victims and your family.
The work you do at the Attendance Centre will help you to learn new skills and make positive changes to stop offending in the future. The court usually orders you to attend for between 12-36 hours, but you won’t have to attend for more than three hours a day.
Through the Gate
Our Through the Gate (TTG) service has been designed to help you settle back into the community after leaving prison.
TTG is provided by a team of skilled, experienced resettlement workers who can give you support and advice, tailored to your individual needs.
Our resettlement workers will create a plan with you that might include:
- finding suitable accommodation ready for your release
- preparing you for work and help you search for a job
- finding suitable training and education courses
- giving you advice on managing money, claiming benefits and dealing with debt
- getting support if you’ve been a sex worker or victim of domestic abuse.
When will Through the Gate start?
Step one: Within 72 hours of your arrival, prison staff will meet you to carry out an initial assessment of your needs.
Step two: A resettlement worker will then carry out a second assessment and will work with you to create a resettlement plan. This might include doing things while you’re in prison such as an educational course or learning a new skill. You’ll also get support to deal with any immediate needs such as ending a tenancy or keeping a job.
Step three: At least 12 weeks before you’re due to leave prison, your resettlement worker will help you prepare for your release by making sure everything in your plan is being put into action.
Step four: Once you’ve been released from prison, your resettlement worker may continue to work with you in the community while you complete the rest of your sentence.
What happens when I leave prison?
If you committed an offence on or after 1 February 2015, you’ll have at least 12 months of supervision in the community.
Whatever the length of your sentence, you’ll be released from prison at the halfway point and you’ll serve the second half of your sentence on licence or subject to Post Sentence Supervision, in the community. While you’re on licence, you could be recalled back to prison if you break any of your sentence conditions. If you are subject to Post Sentence Supervision you may returned to court if you break the conditions.
Through the Gate is a legally enforceable part of your sentence and you must do everything you are asked to do. If you don’t comply then:
- if you’re on licence, you could be recalled back to prison
- if you’re on supervision in the community (Post Sentence Supervision), you could go back to the magistrates court and receive a fine, a curfew, an unpaid work sentence or up to 14 days in prison.