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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 have welcomed a new group of leaders this April who will be graduating in November.

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:


Tasha Cowperthwaite

Tasha joined the CJA in October 2023 as ELEVATE CJS Project Manager, and brings extensive community engagement experience with an 8-year care sector background and nearly 5 years in social housing. Additionally, Tasha has worked with a charity supporting child survivors of domestic violence. In social enterprise, she crafted programmes for young people in the criminal justice system, including partnership in the Culture Exchange Program with Social Ark.

Contact Tasha:

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:

The ELEVATE CJS Advisory Group

Staff and Trustees 1

Jason Grant

Neil Cornish

Neil Cornish


Kiri Freya

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Maryse Gordon


Tristan Gordon

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Paula Harriott

Linda James (2)

Linda James

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Hamish MacLellan


Brendan Ross