The Criminal Justice Programme
Since its inception in 2015, The Bell Foundation’s Criminal Justice Programme has been bold and broad in its commitment to breaking down language barriers to justice and rehabilitation. In 2022 the programme launched the groundbreaking Language Barriers in the Criminal Justice System research series, which, along with learnings from partners since the programme began, forms the basis of the programme’s ambitious strategy for 2022-2026. The focus of the programme under this strategy is the impact of language barriers on outcomes and wellbeing, for anyone in contact with the criminal justice system who speaks ESL.
The programme also looks more widely at interconnected issues, primarily cultural barriers and challenges faced by those with protected characteristics including race and gender, again led by the evidence. The programme has a strong focus on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), and an awareness of the importance of considering intersecting characteristics and needs, and the need for holistic support for every beneficiary.
To break down the language and cultural barriers to accessing and achieving justice and rehabilitation for individuals who speak English as a second or additional language (ESL) in contact with the English and Welsh criminal justice system.
Programme intended impact
Individuals in contact with the criminal justice system who speak ESL have equal outcomes in justice and rehabilitation, and equal wellbeing during and after contact with the criminal justice system as their peers who speak English as a first language. This is thanks to a system and sector that have the ability and capacity to recognise, understand, and respond to the additional challenges they face.