Today we launch our five-year strategy, created by our dedicated staff and people with lived experience of the revolving door. A genuinely collaborative process that I am proud of.
We have set out our stall. It is ambitious yet realistic. We have set ourselves clear priorities. It sets out how we’re going to work, being curious, collaborative, impactful, but all the while recognising that people going through the revolving door are individuals with strengths and challenges. It pushes us to live our values of being optimistic, bold, truthful and consciously challenging power relationships. It reminds us that we are at our best when our work combines knowledge of the system, quality research and involvement of those with lived experience.
We are clear about the issue we want to tackle. Over the last decade, the fastest growing group of offenders has been those convicted of 15 or more previous offences. They are now the largest proportion of offenders, accounting for more crime and more victims than any other group. Reoffending costs England and Wales over £18 billion per year and now accounts for three-quarters of all proven offences.
We know that behind these statistics is misery. Not only the significant hurt caused to victims and their families. Not only the damage to communities. But in the lives of most prolific offenders. The cycle of crisis and crime is caused by hurt and lived in pain. Last year we found that the childhoods of those in the revolving door had a typical pattern. Exceptional levels of abuse, neglect and household disruption. Profound levels of poverty. Extreme levels of community violence.
We see the consequences of these childhoods in our prisoner population. The majority of those serving short prison sentences have drug or alcohol problems. The majority of female prisoners have experienced domestic violence. The majority of prisoners experience mental ill-health. All of which are associated with poverty. All of which are associated with abusive childhoods.
We at Revolving Doors Agency know that being trapped in the revolving door is not inevitable. We know that a smarter criminal justice system can make the revolving door avoidable and escapable. We know that large scale change is possible. We are optimistic about recovery because our “Lived Experience Forums” are run by people who have overcome profound adversity and are now inspiring others. These Forums are power-shifting spaces, bold and truthful powerhouses for co-producing effective solutions to the “revolving door” of crisis and crime. They show that it is possible, for individuals and for society, to have freedom from the cycle of crisis and crime. This is our vision. This is what we strive for.