Offenders in Hampshire are benefiting from a range of bespoke services provided by the Society of St James Substance Misuse Service.
People supervised by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Rehabilitation Company and ordered by the courts to carry out Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days as part of their sentence can be referred to the service.
The service runs a variety of workshops aimed at supporting offenders to make positive change, with a view to preventing them from committing more crime.
Paul Mitchell, from the Society of St James, is the service’s manager. The service runs evidence-backed interventions that focus on providing a holistic approach to tackling things such as: substance misuse, financial issues, accommodation and health.
He said: “The flexibility HIOW CRC has given us has enabled our team to create a suite of interventions that are typically aimed at people who have committed their first criminal offence. I think that previously these people would have crept under the radar, and only really come to probation’s attention when the severity of their crimes escalated.
“Our aim is to target them with the right intervention so that we can prevent them from coming back before the courts and give them the right support to lead them away from the criminal justice system.
“That’s why I’m passionate about the services we deliver because we see on a regular basis that by tailoring the right support to each offender – and one that focuses on their strengths – then we can achieve significant results.”
The service is used by HIOW CRC. They were commissioned to have an annual start target of 210 service users during 2018, and to achieve 141 successful completions. Up until the end of November, they had already exceeded those targets – having had 235 starts and 161 successful completions.
Paul said: “I believe our programme is unique. Often the offenders we engage with have committed lower level domestic violence offences, are not entrenched offenders, and as such respond well to what we are delivering.
“The programme is based on achieving outcomes for our service users. We assess them and work with them to see what their goals are and look at the best pathways to achieving those goals. We review progress with our clients to see if they are achieving those goals, and if not, what barriers do they need to overcome to make that progress.”