North East Connected

Awards for North East Work in Crime Reduction

PROFESSIONALS working with prisoners, ex-prisoners or those sentenced to community punishments in the North East are being given the chance to get recognition for their efforts to reduce re-offending by entering the 2017 Nepacs Awards.

2017 will be the thirteenth year of the Nepacs Awards and will once again recognise the innovative work taking place across the North East to help offenders to resettle in the community and rebuild their lives.

The Bishop of Durham and Patron of Nepacs the Rt Rev Paul Butler will present this year’s awards and certificates at an event taking place in September at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street.   

The awards celebrate projects that support prisoners planning for their release, and afterwards, working with agencies to help promote purposeful and communal activity and build self-belief, helping them re-establish themselves outside, securing accommodation, work and positive family relationships. It is usually when this resettlement fails that ex-offenders turn back to crime and inflict more damage on the community.

The awards are open to individuals or teams who work in probation/CRCs, prisons and youth offender institutions, the voluntary sector or other agencies working within criminal justice across the North East. Nominations will be accepted from anyone working within these organisations.

Last year winners came from HMPs Durham and Kirklevington, Free the Way (a charity based in Seaham) and the Northern Engagement for Recovery from Addiction working as part of Northumbria CRC.

Helen Attewell, chief executive of Nepacs, said: “The difficulties of working within the prison system have been clearly highlighted by the media in recent months.

“The challenges faced by prison-based staff are mirrored in the community, where clients’ problems around substance misuse, mental health, relationship breakdowns and unemployment can continue to put obstacles in the way of fulfilling crime free lives. 

“Nepacs awards are a way of paying tribute to the resilience and determination of staff and volunteers working within the criminal justice system who inspire hope for a better future within the people they work with, as well as offering practical support and help.”

The closing date for nominations is Friday, June 16 2017. 

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