Co-designing relationships with women in the criminal justice system

Published in Features on 1 Nov 2016

This year, Iriss is excited to be working with women and practitioners in the criminal justice system to enhance relationship-based practice through co-design.

We were inspired by evidence from a recent evaluation of women’s criminal justice centres (WCJS) which identified the importance of relationships to womens’ outcomes. A Scottish Government evaluation revealed that when WCJSs were “gender-specific, safe, informal environments…women [were able] to connect with workers and other women in a way that many had not experienced in previous services or through supervision alone.” We believe that services which are designed in this way present a space and an opportunity for women to develop relationships that support and enable the outcomes they aspire to. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that relationships are important to the womens’ journeys as they “develop self-worth through their relationships with others and are motivated by their connections with other people”.

Iriss will be working with the Glen Isla project in Arbroath to co-design a tool which enhances communication and relationships in a criminal justice setting. Glen Isla is a service that supports and supervises women who are subject to court orders or returning to the community. We hope to build on the good practice at Glen Isla and generate innovative ideas together.

In this project, staff from Iriss will spend time in the criminal justice centre using an ethnographic approach to understand how relationships are built and maintained in this setting. This work will be led and informed by the experience of the women who attend Glen Isla and the staff who support them. We will then use co-design methods to engage women who access the service and the practitioners who work with them to develop ideas and solutions. The output of this work will be a tool, which we hope will have application across social service settings.

At the end of this project, we will publish the tool as well as the story of its design.

To find out more about this project please contact the project manager Rhiann McLean

Arbroath West Links image by Ulleskelf