Mike Kirby (Criminal Justice System Ambassador)
Mike is a retired Prison Governor who until his retirement in 2013 had worked in prisons and related organisations for over 33 years. During his career with the Prison service and then latterly NOMS (National Offender Management Service) Mike worked in a range of different of prisons across England and has governed three, two in the North East of the country Low Newton and Acklington and La Moye prison in Jersey (Channel Islands). La Moye, although small by English prison standards, was complex in that it consisted of separate units within a secure perimeter for un-convicted prisoners, women, young offenders and serving prisoners.
Mike was responsible, whilst in Jersey, for implementing a large number of inspectorate recommendations following the first ever inspection of the prison from outside the island. He also worked with the Chief Probation Officer to introduce the first form of early release ever seen in the island, which for adult prisoners was also the first form of post-custodial supervision. He contributed to an island wide review of the Jersey Criminal Justice Policy and drew up a long term development plan for the fabric of the 70s built prison which was starting to show significant deterioration. He returned to the UK in 2004 but work on the development plan is still progressing.
As Governor of Low Newton he was responsible for re-rolling the establishment from a mainly male remand centre to a fully female prison. The resulting regime was praised by the Chief Inspector for its radical strategy of enabling women prisoners to exercise greater responsibility over their day to day activities, an approach which better prepared the women for life after custody.
?Mike has also worked both at the Government Office for the North east and the Area office for the Prison Service on developing crime reduction strategies for the region which involved significant liaison with local authorities and other criminal justice agencies. He finished his time at NOMS HQ working with the Learning and Skills Council tendering and re-letting the national contract for Offender Learning and Skills. The entire package was worth in excess of £180 million and was let on a regional basis across the ten English regions with colleges and major training organisations competing for the work.
He has maintained contact with colleagues in NOMS and in the prisons and remains a member of the Perrie Lectures management Committee, which each year organise a series of lectures on a criminal justice theme at the prison Service college in Rugby. 2016 will be the 30th year for the lectures.
Mike has always taken a keen interest in assisting offenders to lead a purposeful and crime free life and sees the work that Forward Assist is doing with veterans, who are finding the transition back into the civilian world a difficult adjustment to make, a challenge that he is keen to be involved in.