Prisons and probation services
Prisoners experience the same issues brought to bureaux generally, but have limited access to the means of sorting these problems out. It costs £35,000 to keep someone in prison for a year, but over two thirds re-offend. Advice received on arrival and during a prison sentence can help to reduce the risk of re-offending on release.
The Citizens Advice service currently provides advice in 43 prisons and 29 probation settings. Bureau workers give generalist and holistic advice to prisoners on subjects including housing, debt and employment. Bureaux can also access specialist help, for example from solicitors, immigration officers and housing departments.
The service provides offenders with continuity throughout their sentence and on release. Our case management system allows clients’ details to pass securely between workers and sites, avoiding the repetition or loss of information. The presence of a CAB in prisons, probation settings and in the community can help an offender anywhere in the country.
National and regional work
Our Citizens Advice staff also work with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) nationally and regionally. For example Citizens Advice chairs five of the Finance, Benefits and Debts strategic pathway groups and is represented on two national reference groups.