What is Easy Read?
‘Easy Read’ documents present information using simple words and pictures making it easier to understand. The use of Easy Read is common in health and social care organizations, as well as other areas.
It can help anyone with reading comprehension difficulties, including those with learning disabilities, learning difficulties and also people for whom English is not their first language. Easy Read is a 'reasonable adjustment' that helps to ensure equal access to information for people with reading problems.
"I can't read very well. When I was in prison I could never understand the forms and information or read any letters. Getting help with my paperwork and bills on the outside is what helped me to stop offending and start my new life."
Quote from an ex-offender and member of the 'Working for Justice'group.
What 'Easy Read' initiatives are taking place in the Criminal Justice System?
In early 2011, The Department of Health launched a series of Easy Read images for Criminal Justice staff to use, for free, with a guide on how to do your own Easy Read documents. They asked the organization 'CHANGE' to design Criminal Justice images, so now staff can design their own 'Easy Read' versions of leaflets, signs, forms, etc. * People who do not work in the Criminal Justice System can still buy these images from CHANGE.
As part of this project 4 documents were made into Easy Read:-
• POLICE – Notice of Rights and Entitlements
• COURTS – Paying your Fine (Still awaiting sign-off)
• PRISON – How to make a Complaint (PSI: 02/2012)
• PROBATION – License Conditions (PI: 07/2011)
KeyRing has since continued to promote the concept and use of Easy Read within the Criminal Justice System. In March 2012, it held two workshops for Criminal Justice staff on how to produce Easy Read information.
KeyRing has also been working with other Easy Read organizations. These include The Clear Communication People, who have developed healthcare and induction material for 4 prisons in Surrey, and the website www.EasyHealth.org.uk which promotes Easy Read healthcare material.
* The various sectors of the Criminal Justice System are approaching the production and use of Easy Read indifferent ways. Click here to find out the advice, contact and resources appropriate to your area of work.
Examples of Easy Read designed for use in the Criminal Justice System
Whilst Easy Read is a relatively new tool being used in the Criminal Justice System, there are already examples of good practice form across the country.
You may want to look at these for inspiration when thinking about what Easy Read documents would be appropriate and effective for your service. Please click here to see these examples.
"... we created a new Easy read [application] form that has proven to be very effective indeed. As a result of creating this form we have seen a significant surge in applications from the vulnerable groups we have been trying to reach out to. We have also received a great deal of praise from our stakeholders, including lawyers and prison staff, about the new form and we are so pleased that more people are able to access our service because of its creation...."
Quote from Catherine Dilks, Customer Service Manager,
The Criminal Justice Review Commission
Click here to read more stories about the impact Easy Read has had on offenders and services within the Criminal Justice System.
If you cannot find the information you require concerning Easy Read, then please contact Neisha Betts.