The conference marked the 40th anniversary of the Hertfordshire Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (HACRO).
It was titled ‘The Hertfordshire Criminal Justice System: the Future and Beyond!’ and held on Wednesday last week.
It attracted more than 120 delegates, who discussed discussed what have been called ‘the most far-reaching changes for a generation that are affecting the Criminal Justice System in England’.
HACRO chairman Yasmin Batliwala JP said these include moves to put criminals in prisons near their homes, so that they can be resettled more easily when they leave.
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For instance, Bovingdon’s The Mount will take on an extra 250 prisoners soon after expanding to become a ‘resettlement prison’.
The meeting looked at what these changes meant for professionals working in the Criminal Justice System, for offenders and their families and, not least, for the citizens of Hertfordshire.
Speakers included Hertfordshire Chief Constable Andy Bliss, HMP The Mount Governor Steve Bradford, CEO of BeNCH Community Rehabilation Company Neil Moloney, Police & Crime Commissioner David Lloyd and His Honour Judge Andrew Bright.
The meeting was opened by Hertfordshire High Sheriff Fergus McMullen, and was also addressed by HACRO President Richard Pleydell Bouverie and the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Lady Diane Verulam.
Ms Batliwala said: “The resettlement and reintegration of people after prison are fundamental for reducing re-offending.
“To prevent people from reoffending involves ensuring local services work together to put in place key supports.
“These include access to housing, employment, health and social care and family support all of which are pivotal to successful rehabilitation and ultimately reducing the harm that crime can cause in Hertfordshire.
“For over 40 years, HACRO has contributed towards this by ensuring all the right people and organisations work together to achieve this goal.”
Neil Moloney, chief exectutive of BeNCH Community Rehabilitation Company, said, “It is a real pleasure to be invited to speak to the 40th Anniversary AGM of HACRO, and to inform the audience of the work of the newly established BeNCH Community Rehabilitation Company.
“BeNCH and HACRO share a number of common aims – to reduce reoffending, protect victims and make our communities safer – and by working together these aims are easier to achieve.”