The Third Sector in Criminal Justice

Increasing the involvement of the third sector (voluntary, charitable and non-governmental organisations) in the provision of criminal justice services is a key aspect of government policy. Third sector organisations (TSOs) are perceived to be independent, flexible, innovative and cost-effective, and contribute to broader agendas of increasing community participation in public services.

However, little evidence exists to support the ability of the third sector to provide effective services, and the expansion of TSOs' involvement in core criminal justice services presents arange of challenges for TSOs as well as legal, ethical and ideological concerns about TSOs taking on quasi-punitive and formal enforcement roles and their compatibility with service provision and campaigning objectives.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) are funding a series of seminars designed to bring together TSOs, criminal justice agencies, policy makers and researchers to critically explore third sector involvement in the criminal justice system and consider how it might develop in the future. The seminars also aim to encourage interdisciplinary research and contribute to evidence-based policy making in this area.

The Events

Seminar One: The Third Sector and Criminal Justice - A Critical Relationship

10 February 2011 | University of Leeds

Seminar Two: Volunteering in Criminal Justice

28 June 2011 | Keele University

Seminar Three: Penal Reform and Service Provision

13 September 2011 | University of Birmingham

Seminar Four: The Mixed Economy of Criminal Justice

24 November 2011 | University of Leeds

Seminar Five: Researching Third Sector Organisations' Contribution to the Criminal Justice System

24 February 2012 | University of Keele

Seminar Six: Towards a New Agenda for the Third Sector and Criminal Justice - Lessons for Research, Policy and Practice

14 June 2012 | University of Birmingham

Follow-up Seminar: Research and Evaluation in the Criminal Justice Voluntary and Community Sector

28 November 2012 | University of Leeds/CLINKs event