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New resources for justice professionals
The latest additions to the Butler Trust's Knowledge Exchange site for prison, probation and youth justice practitioners.

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Knowledge Exchange

Regular readers may remember that two years ago the Butler Trust launched a new resource aimed at everyone who works in a criminal justice setting. The Knowledge Exchange is an online library of guidance and examples of best practice. The resource encourages users to suggest examples of best practice and guidance and allows users to search content by both source and sector. There are now over 550 resources instantly available for download.

The Butler Trust

The Butler Trust is best known for its awards programmes designed to celebrate and promote the best in UK prisons, probation and youth practice. The Trust was set up in 1985 by former prison governor, Rev Peter Timms OBE and Veronica Linklater, later Baroness Linklater of Butterstone. The Trust is named after Richard Austen Butler (RAB), later Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, and the Butler family have been closely involved with the Trust throughout.

As Home Secretary (from 1957 to 1962), RAB introduced a series of reforms to improve the management, care and rehabilitation of offenders. To further the scientific understanding of criminality, he set up the Home Office Research Unit, and helped set up the Cambridge Institute of Criminology. He also gave the go-ahead for Grendon, as the world’s first dedicated psychotherapeutic prison. The 1975 Butler Report (which RAB oversaw after leaving office) led to significant improvements in the management and care of offenders with a mental illness.

The Butler Trust is probably best known for its Awards which were launched in 1985 to celebrate people in the sector who go “above and beyond” in their work. 

It is now becoming increasingly known for the resources on the Knowledge Exchange.

How to use the site

The site has been designed to be simple to use. The front page includes both featured entries and recent additions but the two most useful ways of finding what you are looking for are the search box at the top of the page or the ability to browse by source, sector (custodial, probation or youth justice) or theme. 

Recent additions

To give you a flavour of the resources are on offer, I am including links to some of the more recent additions on a wide range of topics.

County Lines

The Youth Justice Board’s County Lines pathfinder has recently published a  criminal exploitation safety planning tool and short summary aimed at managers in youth justice services. The tool is designed to support managers who supervise staff to take a harm minimisation approach and consider:

  • Trauma within the context of safety planning for children,
  • Principles and skills required to approach this area of practice,
  • Some safety planning ideas that may be helpful both online and, in the community,
  • The importance of enforcement and disruption.

Restorative justice in cases of sexual offending

An article in the most recent edition of the Probation Quarterly expounds on the findings of a conference looking at the potential for restorative justice approaches with people convicted of a sexual offence and concludes that RJ in this setting can bring wide ranging benefits for victims/ survivors which the traditional criminal justice system often cannot.

Families in prison

The Knowledge Exchange also contains a link to a fascinating recent study featured in the Prison Journal which looks at young people’s experiences of serving a prison sentence at the same time as another family member.

Send in your suggestions

Finally, there is also an option for readers to suggest their own additions to the resource. Next time you are looking for the latest information on a work topic, don’t forget to check the Knowledge Exchange.


Thanks to Gabriella Marino for kind permission to use the header image in this post which was previously published on Unsplash.


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