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Reducing re-offending in Southampton

08 February 2022

Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner, has been finding out more about how two initiatives  she funds in Southampton are helping to cut reoffending by tackling the root causes of criminal behaviours and supporting offenders to make better choices.

First stop was a visit to the Southampton Integrated Offender Management House (IOM). There are three IOM houses in Gosport, Portsmouth and Southampton that are owned and managed by the Society of St James.  The Commissioner funds support workers in each of the three IOM Houses which are primarily for offenders leaving prison who are vulnerable to substance misuse, and would otherwise be homeless. The support workers encourage healthy lives free from crime and substance abuse.

IOM involves working closely with each resident using a trauma informed approach to build feelings of safety and trust. Residents are offered tailored support for example getting involved in volunteering or accessing training opportunities, follow-on housing, drug and alcohol support or registering with a GP. Residents take part in a weekly timetable of meaningful activities and engage with peer mentors.  Activities include sports and leisure, accredited courses and life skills.  Residents are also offered group work and one to one support.

Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Integrated Offender Management (IOM) is a nationally recognised way of managing offenders and is proven to be the most effective way to reduce re-offending and keep communities safer.

“The IOM houses give people a home, provide them with support to stay off drugs and equips them with new skills and knowledge, from learning to cook to help to access employment, so they can go on to live crime free lives.

“I was pleased to meet with some of the current residents, during my visit, they have some very powerful stories about how they are turning their lives around with the help of this brilliant initiative.”

The second project is run by Saints Foundation in partnership with Society of St James. Saints4Sport supports vulnerable and at risk adults in Southampton who are going through some of life’s biggest challenges. The programme works with offenders in prison and with people in the community identified as at risk of offending. It consists of sports based activities, training and accreditations, volunteering, and employment. The combination of activities diverts participants from their existing daily routines to break the cycle associated with crime and substance and alcohol misuse.

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