Equal theme
Get involved
Valid XHTML 1.1

IMPACT Ascend - Innovation Means Prisons And Communities Together

Partnership information


Ascend image


Members of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) community are twice as likely to be unemployed than the general population. 55% of all ex-offenders are economically inactive. Ex-offenders from the BME community face even higher levels of exclusion from the labour market. Research has established that being in employment is a key factor in reducing re-offending.Effective resettlement of ex-offenders remains one of the biggest challenges, not just for thecriminal justice system, but for anyone interested in creating safer communities.  


By trialling programmes designed to enhance cultural identity, improve attitudes towards work and behaviour in the workplace, develop the role of mentors and promoting the achievements of individuals, Ascend aims to improve the employment and resettlement prospects of BME ex-offenders. An additional aim is to empower ex-offenders to not only gain education, training and employment pre and post-release, but also to sustain it long term. 



Working with the University of Manchester, Ascend has conducted extensive research into the specific barriers to employment experienced by BME ex-offenders and a Consultation with Employers report 

Resiliance and skills development 

Piloting the development of a Positive Knowledge course for ex-offenders to develop cultural identity, positive self-esteem and empowerment.. A bespoke cognitive skills training course has also been developed that uses thinking and problem-solving skills to address barriers to employment and sustaining work. The programme, called Thinking Skills for the Work Place, has been validated by the Prison Service and is currently available for dissemination  

Receording and learning attainment.

Using Portfolios of Achievement, the formal and informal learning, behaviour and work of ex-offenders while they are in custody is fully recorded.  

Employer engagement

Establishing a database of regional employers who are willing to support ex-offenders back into work, and building links to promote opportunities for BME ex-offenders 


Working with Voluntary Sector partners and training volunteer mentors to offer support during the custodial period and post-release. The mentors offer ‘through-the-gate’ provision to ex-offenders in a way that statutory services cannot. This continuity of service helps ex-offenders through the vulnerable early period of resettlement and enhances chances for sustainability 

Staff Training

Producing information and opportunities for staff to address institutional barriers experienced by BME ex-offenders and effective working with a diverse population  

Target Groups

BME men and women who are in custody in: HMYOI Thorn Cross, HMPs Styal, Risley, Buckley Hall, Kirkham,  Garth.  

Read more





Round 1 to Round 2

HM Prison Service Northwest Area was the lead partner in the Round One IMPACT DP


Lorna Edmonson, HM Prison Service, , Shelley Lockett, HM Prison Service,


Action 2: 31 March 2008
Action 3: 31 March 2008

Equal theme

Ethnic minorities


For the last eight years, HM Prison Service, Northwest Area, has worked in partnership with other organisations from the statutory, voluntary and private sectors to enhance its offender employment delivery and lead on much of its resettlement research.

IMPACT is a research project that explores innovative ways of resettling offenders back into the community, by enhancing their chances of gaining and sustaining employment. IMPACT works in the community and in secure establishments in the North West.


BME groups, Ex-offenders
Total beneficiaries: 200 (40 female)

Intended impact/ sustainability

To establish good practice guidelines and working models for successful resettlement. For example: the role of ‘community leaders’, organisations, institutions, faith groups, etc., provides vital access points into BME communities. This is achieved through partnership building and gauging effective service delivery requirements. The IMPACT project has now developed good race relations with a number of BME organisations and representatives which is highly valued.

Is this information correct?



Activities and products