Hafal has been awarded £150k by Comic Relief to run a new service which aims to support people with a mental illness in the Criminal Justice System and reduce rates of re-offending in Wales.
Hafal’s Deputy Chief Executive Alun Thomas said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received the Comic Relief funding and we look forward to making a real difference to the lives of people with a mental illness who come into contact with the Criminal Justice System.
“The project will make sure that offenders with a mental illness receive the right support – either by being diverted from the Criminal Justice System, or by being supported for their mental illness while they are still within it.
“The majority of people with a mental illness who are sentenced have committed low-level, non-violent crimes but due to their mental illness – and a lack of understanding regarding community sentencing options – these individuals are more likely to receive a custodial sentence.
“The service will aim to counter this by improving understanding of mental illness among criminal justice practitioners.
“We aim to reduce the rates of reoffending in Wales by supporting people to work towards recovery, get the services they need and engage positively with their communities.”
The project will provide a specialist point of contact for all criminal justice agencies who are managing offenders or those at risk of offending; it will also deliver an annual conference where service users and practitioners from across Wales can come together in order to share experiences, increase understanding, reduce stigma and stimulate innovation.