Researchers at the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University have evaluated the Re-Unite network of projects and concluded that, “there is much evidence that Re-Unite is successful”
Jane Dominey and Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe conducted an evaluation spanning three years of Re-Unite South London (2010-2012) and 12 months of the replication of the Re-Unite programme in Birmingham, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire (2012). Re-Unite Revisited: An Evaluation and the associated Re-Unite Revisited: Summary Report offer their views and reflections on Re-Unite and its overall value in supporting vulnerable families and reducing reoffending.
Quite simply it would be a matter of huge regret if the excellent work of Re-Unite could not be continued. There is a moral imperative to make provision for women offenders and their children and Re-Unite already makes a positive contribution to the Government’s Rehabilitation Revolution agenda
The researchers found “seven signs of success” and concluded that there is much evidence that Re-Unite is successful in accessing accommodation, establishing effective support, helping the women towards stable lives and facilitating the restoration of families – all of which are factors linked to reduced reoffending.
They went onto to say that “Re-Unite has clearly provided the opportunity for children to return to their mother’s care with additional support at a time of transition and change. For some children, the existence of Re-Unite has certainly prevented them from being taken into care or remaining in care”.
In sum, Re-Unite shows considerable success in helping women to settle down and be reunited with their children. The concept and practice of providing or facilitating access to suitable housing combined with intensive support is an extremely valuable development in regard to women offenders. This is a very important finding in the context of policy developments and should be used to inform decisions regarding community-based work with women offenders