In the past few years one of the biggest challenges Shine has faced has been the changes to the court processes, affecting the throughput of women being sentenced and then released from custody. Shine quickly realised that the remand population was rapidly increasing during the pandemic, bringing fresh challenges. Prison-Based Champions (PBCs) reported women were being admitted to custody on remand and then in days appearing in court and liberated. This increased the risk for women – the risk of overdose, or violence from an abusive partner, or previous negative peer relationships. Shine recognised this as a significant issue and a Test of Change was developed in collaboration with SPS.
As part of the Test of Change, all women admitted to remand would receive a liberation pack, containing key service information including how to access Shine if they find themselves liberated from court unexpectedly. The PBCs would work with each establishment’s court desk, checking court rolls and ensuring woman eligible for Shine had a pack in place for attending court. The PBC’s would prioritise the remand population and ensure that anyone who wished to engage with Shine was signed up quickly.
These steps reduced the number of women who would be lost to the service on unexpected liberation, as well as reducing the risk of harm by ensuring women knew how to access the vital support they needed at such a vulnerable time.
A mentee’s voice:
"She was able to understand everything I said. I felt I was very low with my feelings initially, when I was going through this, I felt when I was talking with people they weren’t fully understanding what I was saying, how I was feeling. But she was able to understand … it was a total relief to have somebody understood where I was and have that compassion, it was just a total relief for me."
Over the past year, Shine has - despite the challenges of recovering from a global pandemic - continued to deliver consistently high-quality service and has thrived. Shine has been successful in two funding applications, responding to the needs of women and enhancing and expanding current service delivery.
The first funding award was through the Delivering Equally Safe Fund, supporting services dedicated to reducing the harm caused by forms of violence against women and girls. The second was through the Digital Lifeline’s Fund, providing digital resources and connectivity to women to reduce drug related deaths for those leaving custody.