Barnardo’s has been awarded £91,707 from the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) to assess the needs of ex-Service personnel and their families who are serving, or have served, a custodial prison sentence.
Focusing on the Southwest and West Midlands areas, the project will access the connections that Barnardo’s have already developed in prisons, the Criminal Justice System and Armed Forces charities.
The 18-month study will consist of interviews with ex-Service personnel and their children and families to ascertain the need, unmet need, the availability of support services and the impact of imprisonment.
Professionals working with the cohort will also be interviewed to identify needs of ex-Service personnel in custody, understand their current skills and knowledge in relation to supporting prisoners and their families, and to explore the challenges of cross-sector working.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said:
While the majority of Service leavers transition positively, there is a minority; which includes those who have spent time in custody, and their families, who have a more difficult time on the pathway to civilian life.
We know from our previous work that successful transition is more likely when there is a stable family in place, and we are pleased to be partnering with Barnardo’s, whose considerable experience and expertise in this field will enable an impactful project.
This study will enable service providers and policy makers to better inform their decision-making process and ensure that the ex-Service personnel who have a custodial sentence are not slipping through the net.
Javed Khan, Barnardo’s Chief Executive, said:
Through our specialist services we know that children with a parent in prison are some of the most overlooked and isolated in the UK, and have disrupted childhoods that can ruin their life chances. They are innocent victims but often end up being punished.
We are delighted with this funding from the Forces in Mind Trust which will enable us to produce clear guidance on the needs of veterans and their families to ensure that their needs are met effectively by both the criminal justice system and the agencies that support them.