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Reduce Recalled, Raise Reformed.

MA 2022
Probation,Recall,Crime,Communication Gap

4-GP is a service formed by four guideline packages which focus on presenting possible improvements to be applied to the existing probation system structure to reduce recalls for offenders. The main focus is on the communication gap identified through extended qualitative research with the assistance of Catch22 studio, Probation Practitioners (PP), and People on Probation (POPs).


Catch22 is a social business studio that cooperates with UK Ministry of Justice to build services for an alternative to recall system for those who are taken back to prison and pose no threat to society or themselves.

In this project, our team were invited to design based on their pilot program which proposed the introduction of a new position: the navigator mentor.


Criminal System 

In the UK, when offenders have gone through half of their sentence, they may be put in a probation period. During the period, the offenders can serve their remaining prison time outside of a detention facility with various limitations applied to their freedom. If an offender BREAKS the RULES, they will be RECALLED to prison by their probation practitioner (supervisor) to serve the remainder of their sentence in prison.

The fact is that 10,000 prisoners were recalled in 2020, but 60% of them committed no other crime. At the same time, the UK prison system has been under pressure from the high recall rate of offenders, so public service teams, including Catch22, are exploring possible alternatives in pilot service to solve the recall issue.


Research & Analysis

A series of workshops and interviews are conducted to emphasise the stakeholders' perspectives and difficulties in terms of physical and mental needs. By analysing the data, we summarised core areas with 4 keywords that we could focus on to build a solid foundation for the duration of our project: Trust, Communication, Time, and Isolation. Then we prioritise the areas due to the feedback we got from Catch 22 in terms of feasibility, adaptability and innovativeness. Finally, we decided to focus on the issue of the communication gap between the People on Probation (POPs) and the Probation Practitioners (PP). 

This timeline shows both the points for the pilot service from Catch22 provided and our optimisation points. In the timeline, we showcase 4 main intervention points we developed for. Our design approach is to improve the existing probation system without major additions or reforms.

Design Direction

How might we tackle the Communication Gap to improve the efficiency and delivery of crucial probation info between POPs and PPs?


Outcome: Guideline Packages

Our service proposes a 4 guideline packages format under each stage for the navigator mentors to follow. These are based around the 4 stages, which are: in custody, before release, day of release and probation.

We define a guideline package as a set of resources that combine existing information and roles into a modular set of information in a uniform format, which will allow Navigator Mentor (NM) and Probation Practitioners (PP) to select the ones they believe would be useful for their situation.


Value to stakeholders

The pilot service will be launched in 2022. A more efficient workflow that we created will improve the existing system. The guideline can be measured in terms of flexibility, adaptability and innovativeness. It ends up leading to reduce recall rate. For People on Probation (POPs), this could avoid unnecessary confusion and conflict, as well as get increased support. On the Practitioners' side, they will be able to take advantage of an improved communication structure and enhanced trust-building, which will help reduce the workload.


Special thanks to Naomi McGrath, Judah Armani, who gave professional guidelines and insight for us to explore and develop this real case project based on a complex system. And thanks to Tyson,George, Carl, Andrew, who volunteered for our prototype and shared helpful experiences and perspectives.