There are many opportunities for serious and persistent offenders to get support in the justice system. Police, probation and even prisons work to get the most harmful offender in touch with the support services they need to turn their lives around. But for those whose offending is just beginning – who will often just leave court with nothing but a fine to pay – much less help is on hand.
Advice and support services seek to help people who are coming to court but who aren’t eligible to work with probation or receive other support. Advice and support services offer a range of help on a purely voluntary basis: practical support with issues such as fines or benefits, information on the working of the criminal justice system or help to access support services that can address issues like substance misuse or homelessness which drive offending.
They work with the courts, police and probation services to ensure that court orders are obeyed in order to reduce reoffending and create long-term savings for the justice system.
Our work on advice and support
We work closely with two advice and support services who have helped to shape our understanding of the model. CASS Plus is an independent advice agency which has worked across three courts in Devon and Cornwall since 2005. Highbury Community Advice is a newer service, based in Highbury corner magistrates court and delivered by Islington Citizen’s Advice bureau.
To find out more about these projects, visit our practice page.
Based on our work with CASS Plus and Highbury, we have produced a toolkit which seeks to provide resources for practitioners seeking to established court-based advice and support in their areas.
Advice at Court and Problem-solving:
Advice and support services are one of a number of models of problem-solving practice in courts. Problem solving aims to ensure that the justice system addresses the problems of those who come into contact with it, rather than simply process their cases. Advice and support services offer a wide range of services for their clients: practical support with issues such as fines or benefits, information on the working of the criminal justice system or help to access support services that can address the issues that bring people to court. They work with the courts, police and probation services to ensure that court orders are obeyed in order to reduce reoffending and create long-term savings for the justice system.