Equality and Diversity

POPS are committed to equality and diversity, actively seeking to ensure that our services are accessible to all and delivered to reflect the diverse needs of families and offenders we support.

Equality is integral to POPS ethos. We were established at a time when the Decency agenda was gaining momentum, transforming the treatment of prisoners. POPS were instrumental in ensuring prisoners’ families were also considered under this agenda.

We are an organisation who love to celebrate and promote the diversity of those we support, acknowledging the richness to be found in our differences. Throughout POPS history we have been particularly active in promoting the needs of Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME) families and developing support services which tackle the barriers faced by BME communities to improve social inclusion. POPS have significant understanding of the issues of race having promoted racial justice and tackled racism within the prison system since our inception.

POPS approach is always user led.  Our organisation was founded by service users and continues to take direction from the needs of our beneficiaries.  60% of POPS‘ Head Office staff have experienced or supported someone through the criminal justice process.  We pride ourselves on our level of user involvement and believe that it is what makes us different. POPS set up the Black Prisoner Support Project (BPSP) in 1996 after a family member, receiving support from POPS, raised the issue that there was a dire need for specific support for Black offenders. The BPSP developed to meet the needs of its beneficiaries including mentoring, casework and group work services as well as raising issues affecting Black offenders at a policy level contributing to the Prison Service’s acknowledgement of the existence of institutional racism.  This was followed, in partnership with other agencies, by the establishment of the National Body for Black Prisoner Support Groups (now the Coalition for Racial Justice UK) to advance our work in this field.

In 2006/7 POPS developed a training module called ‘Routes 2 roots’ in conjunction with adult Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) offenders and BME Offender Support Groups working in the North West.  The module aimed to explore the roots of offending behaviour, learn about conflict management strategies and find solutions to barriers to employment upon release.  The training used the context of understanding Black History, learning about positive Black role models and developing basic skills for life to deliver its outcomes.

POPS has also undertaken a considerable amount of research into the needs of BME offenders and communities.  More recently we have conducted research, funded by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), the National Institute of Mental Health England (NIMHE), Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP) and NHS, which have explored culturally sensitive services for BME offenders and those at risk of offending.  All research projects have evidenced the strong correlation between the success of a service and its ability to meet the cultural needs of the client.

As well as our work with BME communities, POPS have also partnered with the University of Huddersfield as part of the pan-European COPING project to explore the impact of parental imprisonment on children and promote the rights of children under the Equalities Agenda.