The New Leaf Network

The New Leaf Network was created through collaboration between individuals and organisations with lived experience of the Criminal Justice System, with network members sharing their vision to support both returning citizens and organisations following release from prison. The network aims to address current sector shortfalls identified including:

  • Accessible support for former prisoners
  • Collaborative working and referral routes in the CJS community
  • Person-centred support embedded into networks that feed into CJS policy
  • Business networks and opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses with leaders with lived experience, operating as a consortium

“The network is about people with lived experience of the Criminal Justice System being supported to develop personally and professionally. The idea was born from study I conducted in 2019 which identified that support is lacking for both individuals and professionals with convictions” – Marie-Claire O’Brien (CEO/Founder of The New Leaf Initiative C.I.C.)

To formally recognise its formation the New Leaf Network launched the first annual Leaders with Lived Experience (LLEx) CJS Conference and Awards ceremony in December 2020, for people with lived experience, specifically recognising outstanding individuals and organisations, alongside allies in the sector.

Keynote speakers for the conference included Mike Trace (CEO of The Forward Trust), who spoke about the Forward Trust and the importance the organisation places on employing people with lived experience; Mark Simms (CEO of P3 Charity), who shared his personal journey of lived experience and Sunny Dhadley (Social Leadership / TEDx Speaker), who spoke about the power of lived experience in shaping the Criminal Justice System and his own experience as a Peer Mentor.

“There’s a great deal of compassion, passion and commitment that exists and I think it’s that we need to harness” – Sunny Dhadley (Social Leadership / TEDx Speaker)

“Our belief is all about people finding their own ways, helping themselves. Our job is to help other people find their own way to change their life situation” – Mike Trace (CEO of The Forward Trust)

“Practical allyship is the key phrase that resonated with me today” – Marie-Claire O’Brien (CEO/Founder of The New Leaf Initiative C.I.C.)


New Leaf Network LLEx CJS Awards 2020 Videos

New Leaf Network LLEx CJS Awards 2021 Videos