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The Prison Leaver Innovation Challenge
The Prison Leaver innovation challenge aims to develop new technological solutions to support people leaving prison.

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Launch event

The Prison Leaver Innovation Challenge is one of three strands to the Ministry of Justice’s Prison Leavers Project launched in February this year (the other two are cross-sector teams and the local leadership and integration fund). The Prison Leaver Innovation Challenge (PLIC) will work with dynamic organisations such as start-ups and SMEs to develop and pilot new digital or technological solutions to improve outcomes for prison leavers and is being organised by PUBLIC.


PLIC will announce “challenge statements” to communicate the problems which competing organisations will be asked to solve. Each problem area/challenge will be framed as an open question or statement in order to attract innovators and a wide range of solutions.

These challenge statements will be announced at a briefing event (full details below) and  will broadly address four core theme areas, which evidence suggests are key to reducing the risk of reoffending:

  1. Community & Relationships
  2. Health & Wellbeing
  3. Work & Skills
  4. Day of Release

The Prison Leavers Innovation Challenge is being run as a two-phased Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition.

Phase 1:

Up to 10 selected companies will receive Government funding of up to £25,000 to prototype their solution, culminating in a closed pitch day.

Phase 2:

Up to 4 selected companies will receive Government funding of up to £350,000, as well as mentorship support, to develop their solution and design a Pilot. Once set up, companies will run their pilots in ‘steady state’ for 1 year.

The context

Regular readers will be aware that there have been a number of digital solutions in the justice sector developed and piloted over recent years (you can see a selection here) although very few have been implemented widely. There is a broad consensus that justice lags behind other sectors such as health and education in terms of using digital solutions to modernise service delivery and improve user experiences as well as efficiency and effectiveness. So, it is good to see the MoJ launching and supporting a programme which directly espouses innovation. 

© Riccardo Annandale

Get involved

The PLIC briefing event is taking place online on next Monday 10 May between 11 – 12 BST. Representatives from the MoJ and PUBLIC will announce and outline the challenges that SME’s can apply for and give context to the user needs and reasoning behind them. These challenges have been chosen after extensive research for their potential to inspire innovative technology to help people leaving prison to turn away from a life of crime.

MoJ representatives will also cover the requirements and structure of the program as well as highlighting the opportunities for SME’s including mentorship, potential funding, access to end-users and frontline staff, help to evaluate their impact and the opportunity for a pilot with the MoJ

There will also be an opportunity to explain the timeline of the event, announce any future webinars/office hours during the application phase and a Q/A period to answer any questions.

You can sign up to the briefing event here.

You can find the PLIC guidance page here. If you visit the page, you can also sign-up for updates on the competition.

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Innovation posts sponsored by Socrates 360

The smart solution to communication, information, and education in secure settings and beyond.

Socrates Software is  working with Probation Services, Prison Services and some of the UK’s premierprivate companies bringing innovation and life-changing improvements to the sector by providing a “mobile mentor” via tablets and smartphones for Prisons and the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme.


The Future of Resettlement

Socrates 360, mobile mentor, is a true Through The Gates solution for the prison and probation sector. For use by prisoners, probationers and staff.


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