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ELEVATE CJS

ELEVATE CJS lived experience leadership programme

Launched in 2022, ELEVATE CJS (Elevating Lived Experience Voices, Advocacy, Training, and Expertise in the Criminal Justice System) is a leadership programme that promotes the redistribution of power to people with lived experience of the criminal justice system. The first cohort of leaders graduated in 2023, and we are excited to open up applications for the second cohort this February.

The 28-week programme will include regular online and in-person workshops, coaching, clinical supervision, a weekend residential, action research projects, a senior level work placement and a shadow board placement.

Focusing on personal and professional development, the programme is designed to empower emerging lived experience leaders, equipping them for impactful careers where they can drive positive change in the criminal justice system or other social justice areas.

ELEVATE CJS collaborates with government and sector employers to eliminate barriers and establish progression routes into senior positions for lived experience leaders. Notably, we have campaigned for criminal record reform and improvements to the current vetting process to work in prisons

The programme was informed by two years of peer research and was co-designed with members of our ELEVATE CJS Advisory Group, chaired by CJA trustee Jason Grant, building on research from the CJA’s 2019 Change from within report.

Kiri, a student barrister and 2023 ELEVATE graduate, talks about her experience on the programme:

We welcome applications in writing or by video or audio recording.

For written applications, please email elevatecjs@criminaljusticealliance.org.uk with:

1. An up to date CV

2. A one-page cover letter answering the following:

  • Tell us about one thing you want to change in the criminal justice system, and how you propose to make that change,
  • How do your experiences of the criminal justice system shape how you approach your work and/or career.
  • How would developing your leadership skills as part of ELEVATE CJS contribute to your future career plans?

For video/audio applications, please:

1. Email an up to date CV to elevatecjs@criminaljusticealliance.org.uk (mention that you are submitting a video/audio application)

2. WhatsApp a video or audio recording (up to 5 mins) to 07741 273 530 answering the following:

  • Tell us your name and the organisation you work with.
  • Tell us about one thing you want to change in the criminal justice system, and how you propose to make that change.
  • How do your experiences of the criminal justice system shape how you approach your work and/or career?
  • How would developing your leadership skills as part of ELEVATE CJS contribute to your future career plans?

Essential criteria:

  • Be over the age of 18
  • Be based in Greater London
  • Have lived experience* of the criminal justice system. We encourage applications from individuals from the broad spectrum of lived experience in line with CJA’s definition.
  • Have been in paid employment in the criminal justice sector for at least three years
  • Want to be a leader for change in the criminal justice system

Desirable criteria:

  • Line management experience
  • Exposure to working with senior management teams and/or board of trustees
  • An understanding of and a desire to impact policy within the criminal justice system

*The CJA’s definition of ‘lived experience’ is broad and includes, for example: Experience of being over-policed, in prison or on a community sentence, a victim of crime, having family member(s) in prison.

The ELEVATE CJS team

Tasha Cowperthwaite

Tasha joined the CJA in October 2023 as ELEVATE CJS Project Manager. Boasting extensive community engagement experience, Tasha founded Strive 2 Thrive Lancashire CIC and is a partner in the Cultural Exchange 2023 programme delivered by Social Ark.

Contact Tasha: tasha.cowperthwaite@criminaljusticealliance.org.uk

Eulina clairmont

Eulina joined the CJA in April 2023 as ELEVATE CJS Project Officer. Fully committed to helping people tackle disadvantage and improve life chances, Eulina is a volunteer mentor at ReachOut, a national mentoring and education charity.

Contact Eulina: eulina.clairmont@criminaljusticealliance.org.uk