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Supporting Muslims in the prison system

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UCLan and local mentoring organisation Arooj call on local community to share their views

Members of all local and Asian communities are being invited to share their views on the challenges faced by an increasing number of black and minority ethnic (BAME) and Muslim people in the prison system.

The number of Muslim prisoners has more than doubled over the past 12 years according to the Prison Reform Trust*. In 2002 there were 5,502 Muslims in prison, but by 2015 this had risen to 12,328. Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are working with Arooj, a community-based mentoring organisation, to rehabilitate and support BAME and Muslim offenders in the North West.

As part of the ongoing ReachingOut project they are holding a workshop in Preston for local people to contribute their ideas and thoughts on what issues BAME and Muslim communities face within the criminal justice system and how they can work together with government at local, national and international levels.

Dr Chris Hough, UCLan Project Investigator and lecturer in the School of Social Work, Care and Community, commented: “We want to get out into the local community to find out what people really think are the critical issues that BAME and Muslim offenders and ex-offenders are facing such as family isolation, stigmatisation and a lack of cultural understanding from the local community rehabilitation companies.”

Mohammad Hanif, a Director of Arooj, commented: “Working with government at local and national levels is a better way to shape the agenda to address these issues because central systems and policies often fail to address the many different social and cultural factors involved.”

As well as taking part in the workshop, attendees can also learn more about the 18 month ReachingOut project’s key findings. They will also learn how the project, which originally received backing from the Ministry of Justice and department of Business Innovation and Skills, has been affected by the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation Agenda.

 

Working with government at local and national levels is a better way to shape the agenda to address these issues because central systems and policies often fail to address the many different social and cultural factors involved

The findings from the workshop will feed into generating future research and consultancy opportunities to find solutions that will address the areas for development that were identified through the ReachingOut project.

The one day event is free and will take place on Thursday 7 April 10.30am – 3.30pm at Cotton Court Business Centre, Church Street. To register and receive more information contact Dr Chris Hough on cvhough@uclan.ac.uk

Lyndsey Boardman | 23 March 2016