People from the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller communities make up a disproportionately large percentage (5%) of the prison population in the UK, and there is still discrimination and prejudice directed against these groups.

Re-offending rates in some London prisons are over 60% for those with sentences less than 12 months.

Although there are no available statistics, we believe that the re-offending rates for Travellers may be higher. This has damaging consequences for the individual, for their families and communities, and for society in general.

We believe that more needs to be done to support the rehabilitation of Traveller prisoners, which we hope would empower the wider Traveller community.

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Pilot Traveller Resettlement Project

We would like to build on our good work and experience by developing a Resettlement Project. We want to begin in October 2017 with a pilot project involving Travellers in Wormwood Scrubs prison and if successful, we would like the project to be extended to other prisons.

Our project will focus on Training and Employment. It will be supported by someone experienced in getting ex-offenders into construction jobs in Dublin and who is now looking to do something similar in London. We are also working closely with the Head of Skills and Training at Wormwood Scrubs, with the head of the CRC (probation), and Causeway Housing.

The Irish Chaplaincy have already built relationships with Travellers whilst in prison (as well as with their families, prison staff and probation staff) so we’re aiming for the same case worker to support a Traveller after release. We believe that this continuity between custody and community will be one of the keys to the success of the project. We have also identified a peer mentor from amongst the Travellers in the prison.

We hope this project would lead to a significant reduction in re-offending rates amongst Travellers. We also believe that a successful resettlement project could help to reverse the adverse effects of discrimination, negative stereotyping, and low expectation levels around those Traveller communities where imprisonment is an all too common reality, and instead lead to more positive aspirations.

Starting small and building

We plan to start small and to support about 5 or 6 people into employment in the first year. We hope with time we will be able to expand the project to other prisons and to other, non-Traveller prisoners.  If most or all of this male group were still in employment 6/12 months after release then this project could be judged to be a success, and we would be in a strong position to apply to trusts for funding to expand the project.

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A special thank you

We’re extremely grateful for the people and organisations who donate regularly.

If you’d like to talk to us about making a donation or have any questions feel free to contact us.

020 7482 5528