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Gangs

Catch22 works nationally to address the multiple and complex issues that can lead to gang involvement. People engage best with a service that operates flexibly, so we offer a responsive and needs-led service, focusing not on the behaviour but its cause.

Our approach

Our Gangs and Violence Reduction services aim to increase self-awareness and self-worth in young people (and where applicable, their families), allowing them to have the confidence to make positive changes in their lives and steer them away from gangs and into positive activities. Our practitioners are experts in the field and not only offer emotional and practical support, they also provide opportunities to try new experiences or activities, encouraging individuals to reach their potential and lead a crime-free life.

Our work targets and builds on young people’s strengths to prevent them becoming involved in gangs and provides a range of interventions for gang-involved young people to support them to exit.

Our impact

(Figures relate to 2018)

  • Catch22 have seen a 33% reduction in gang-related violence since the introduction of the Gangs Custodial Service HMP Thameside
  • We have seen a 21% reduction in gang-related violence at HMP Pentonville
  • 296 participants completed 44 gang-intervention programmes
  • 39 mediations were arranged by our gangs teams and positive outcomes achieved in each

Service user involvement

Service users are at the centre of our delivery: whether completing early identifications when a prisoner first comes in to custody, or delivering preventive work at a PRU, our practitioners quickly become a friendly face that service users come to trust and rely on. All of our interventions are person-centred and we rely on service user feedback to shape and improve our delivery following programme or intervention completion.

Community and prison work

Our community and prison work takes an integrated multi-agency approach, including working with the police, and is informed by the best possible evidence. This enables our delivery team in Wolverhampton to effectively reduce the harms caused by gangs. Our teams engage people with convictions as part of our offender management and resettlement services in prisons and through the gate, supporting rehabilitation.

Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Service

Our community-based violence reduction work in Wolverhampton  engages individuals, families, schools and communities to support young people at risk of gang involvement and those looking to leave a gang. We take a whole family approach, building strong and consistent relationships with young people whilst focusing on improving educational and employment outcomes to develop existing strengths and manage risks.


Reducing gang violence

Our gangs work combines research on policy and practice with direct delivery, both in the community and in custody. Using a relationship-based approach, our teams take account of the risks and needs of each service user and build on their strengths. Our schools work supports children at risk of or involved in gangs and we also support families and children who go missing and/or are experiencing sexual exploitation.

Catch22’s Gangs Service was introduced in HMP Thameside in April 2013 to reduce the risk posed by gang-involved prisoners, and now runs in four other prisons. Run by professionals with an extensive knowledge and understanding of gang culture, the service aims to capitalise on the ‘teachable moments’ prompted by prison sentences to encourage people to leave gang lifestyles behind. Specifically, the service targets coping and communication skills, and identifies positive educational and employment opportunities for people to pursue on release.

‘I am convinced that the work they have done has prevented serious harm to many prisoners. It is their drive and their understanding of the problem that has made Thameside the safe place that prisoners now consider that it is.’
John Biggin OBE, Ex HMP Thameside Director


Related publications

Further information


Get in touch

Contact us if you have an enquiry about Catch22’s youth violence services and a member of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please note

*Due to GDPR restrictions we cannot give out any details of prisoners we work with. If you are enquiring about, or fearing for the safety of a person in custody, please contact the security team at the prison and/or police in your local area. Use the prison finder to find appropriate contact details: www.justice.gov.uk/contacts/prison-finder

Please be aware that we are unable to provide emergency support or urgent responses through this enquiry form.

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How we manage your data

We manage the data you provide in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

  • The Data Controller (the organisation that determines how your data is managed) is Catch22Contact us if you have a query about how your data is managed.
  • The Data Processor (the organisation that does data processing on behalf of Catch22) is The Bureau.
  • We are committed to giving you (the Data Subject in legal terms) an easy way to exercise your eight rights under the GDPR.
  • We process your data for the purpose of receiving your message and responding to it under the lawful basis of consent, which you give by submitting the form above. You have the right to withdraw consent for us to contact you at any time and the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority, which in the United Kingdom is the Information Commissioner’s Office.
  • We retain your data for as long as you allow us to do so. You can exercise your right to erasure at any time.

More information about how we manage all the data we collect can be found in our privacy policy.

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1 Based on a sample of 48 service users in Wolverhampton