• The criminal justice voluntary sector: concepts and an agenda for an emerging field

      Tomczak, Philippa; Buck, Gillian; University of Nottingham; University of Chester (The Howard League and John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2019-09-04)
      Volunteers and voluntary organisations play significant roles pervading criminal justice. They are key actors, with unrecognised potential to shore up criminal justice and/or collaboratively reshape social justice. Unlike public and for-profit agents, criminal justice volunteers and voluntary organisations (CJVVOs) have been neglected by scholars. We call for analyses of diverse CJVVOs, in national and comparative contexts. We provide three categories to highlight distinctive organising auspices, which hold across criminal justice: statutory volunteers, quasi-statutory volunteers and voluntary organisations. The unknown implications of these different forms of non-state, non-profit justice involvement deserve far greater attention from academics, policymakers and practitioners.
    • Politicisation or Professionalisation? Exploring divergent aims within UK voluntary sector peer mentoring

      Buck, Gillian; University of Chester (Wiley, 2019-09-04)
      Meaningful ‘user involvement’ is an established aim of social work practice, and increasingly, an aspiration of criminal justice, yet there are unique challenges to participatory work within punitive contexts. Drawing upon a study of peer mentoring in the voluntary sector, this article unveils some core tensions related to (ex)service user involvement in criminal justice. Interviews with mentors, mentees, and key stakeholders, along with direct observations of practice, reveal that respondents often see their work as personal-political, emphasising the value of lived expertise and of collective action to address limiting social conditions. Simultaneously, however, mentoring is framed nationally and shaped locally by more established aims to correct, improve, and manage, individual ‘offenders’. There is, therefore, a fundamental tension between processes of politicisation, or coming together to assert a user voice and affect social change; and professionalisation, wherein mentors are co-opted into forms of practice they often critique.