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Systems Change

CJS Workforce

How can we strengthen the criminal justice workforce?

Agencies across the criminal justice system deal with sensitive issues and people with complex needs every day. It’s essential that employees in the criminal justice workforce – from frontline staff to senior decision makers – have the right skills, attitudes and competencies to drive change and improve people’s lives.

However, the criminal justice workforce is not currently fit-for-purpose. Black, Asian and minority ethnic people are underrepresented in the criminal justice workforce, which has a knock-on effect on the trust and confidence of ethnic minority groups in the system. People with personal experience of policing, prisons, probation and other areas are also underrepresented, even though they have unique insight into what works and what doesn’t and bring an invaluable set of skills to the criminal justice sector.

The CJA works to improve the representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people and individuals with lived experience across the criminal justice workforce, from peer support to senior decisionmaking roles. 

A female police officer stares into the distance

Our recent work:

Lived Experience Expert Group

Our Lived Experience Expert Group is made up of individuals from across the voluntary sector who have personal experience of the criminal justice system. They inform our work on increasing the representation of people with lived experience across the sector. 

To join the group, contact CJA Director Nina Champion. 

Change from Within

In this report we highlight the vast benefits of lived experience and identify the social, cultural, legal and systemic barriers that people with lived experience face to working in the criminal justice sector. We then make wide-ranging recommendations for the government, employers, universities, the Charity Commission, funders and more. 

Find out more

Building a diverse criminal justice workforce 

This event on increasing racial diversity in the criminal justice workforce featured opening remarks from the justice secretary and the shadow justice secretary, followed by a panel of expert from across the criminal justice system. Watch the video below or read the key highlights in our blog summarising the event.

This follows a roundtable in partnership with the Ministry of Justice in 2019, where attendees discussed key issues in the recruitment, retention and progression of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in the criminal justice workforce. 

Valuing lived experience

We held a meeting as part of HMPPS Insights on the value of lived experience. Three individuals with lived experience discussed the barriers they face and how these can be removed.