Restorative justice can play an important role in empowering victims by giving them a voice and enabling them to explain the real impact of the crime and hold offenders to account. There is a clear link between the use of restorative justice and a reduction in the frequency of offending. The coalition Government have committed almost £30 million for restorative justice services for the three years up to next year, with most of this distributed through the police and crime commissioners as part of our broader approach to funding victims’ services.
The Cheshire police and crime commissioner recently made a welcome grant to the Prison Fellowship for its restorative justice programme, the Sycamore Tree project. This is the first PCC funding in the country for this project, which the Prison Fellowship is seeking to expand but is finding difficult to access owing to data provision requirements for funding. Will the Minister join me in recognising the excellent work going on and meet me and the Prison Fellowship to discuss how PCC funding can be accessed by it across the country?
Of course I will meet the hon. Lady who I know has been a strong advocate for the work of the Prison Fellowship and the Sycamore Tree project. As I understand it, funding for public sector prisons amounts to £917,000 over three years. I am sorry about the data problem, but I am sure we can help with that. The Government are clear, however, that our £30 million pot is money raised from offenders to support the victims of crime. It cannot go to prisons or prisoners; it is for activities outside the prisons to make sure that people do not reoffend.