A new website has been launched, funded by the PCC, to help ex-offenders make positive changes to their lives and turn their backs on crime.
N-Compass is based on an idea devised by the County Board for the Rehabilitation of Offenders, which aims to reduce levels of reoffending in Norfolk and help rehabilitate offenders.
Chair of the Board, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jenny McKibben said: “There are many factors that can make it hard for people to break away from offending, whether it’s substance misuse, accommodation problems, unemployment, or mental health or family issues. By working together to address the issues that drive offending, we can help stop the revolving door of crisis and crime.
“The N-Compass website is just one of many ways in which partners are increasingly working together to tackle reoffending. It has been designed as a one-stop shop signposting ex-offenders to local sources of support and advice to help them make the changes needed to break the cycle.
N-Compass is organised around nine ‘pathways’ out of offending, including accommodation, finance, domestic abuse, drugs and alcohol, health and mental health, and employment. Organisations working in these areas can then post their details on the website, allowing site visitors to search for support services local to them.
“The directory of support services is very much in its early days of development and will grow over time”, Jenny added. “I would urge any organisation working in these pathway areas to take a look at the website and consider listing their services.”
District Manager for the Department of Work and Pensions, and Deputy Chair of the Board, Julia Nix said: “As well as signposting to support services, the website is feeding in to ongoing work by the Board to map the support available to offenders within each of the pathways and address overlap and fill gaps in the arrangements currently in place. It is also a useful tool for agencies in identifying other service providers with whom they can work to deliver integrated support to meet individuals’ needs.”
Andy Wright, Head of Reducing Reoffending at HMP Wayland welcomed the initiative saying it would help support the work of the county’s prisons in preparing offenders for their release: “As resettlement prisons, both HMP Norwich and HMP Wayland aim to break the cycle of offending by offering offenders positive opportunities to change their lives, reduce victims and support the communities to which they return. Building employability skills is also important as employment is one of the major contributing factors in reducing reoffending rates.”
PCC Stephen Bett, who has funded the website, said: “Reoffending is responsible for a significant amount of the crime we have in Norfolk so the rehabilitation of those who commit offences is vital for cutting crime and keeping Norfolk a safe place for our communities.
“The Board have done a great job with N-Compass. While the idea was conceived specifically with ex-offenders in mind, the result is a website which will benefit a much wider audience. Most people will have money concerns at some point in their lives, and one in four of us will experience a mental health issue. I am delighted to have been able to support a project which has produced such a useful tool for accessing support services in our county.”
N-Compass: Turning Lives Around – http://www.ncompass.org.uk/