Our History

Our origins are unique and rooted within the Criminal Justice System (CJS). Arooj was set up in 2007 by Tariq Mahmood after discussions with a group of Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) professionals working with or had an interest in the CJS and third sector representatives. At that time there was little or no formal support for BAME / Muslim offenders during custody and/or upon release. Our aim was to provide support to both offenders and local prisons to help it engage with BAME and Muslim communities.

2007
Held first meeting with HMP Kirkham Governor
Invited to sit on HMP Kirkham Race Equality Action Group (REAG), with emphasis on ensuring that all aspects of Equality and Diversity are met

2008
Organised an Open Day for BAME communities to visit HMP Kirkham, over 50 attendees

2009
Began BAME Prisoner Drop-in Sessions (DIS) at HMP Kirkham
HMP Kirkham requested Arooj to undertake independent Quality Assurance Assessment of complaints submitted by prisoners called Diversity Incidents Report Forms (DIRFS).
Arooj provided feedback to the Deputy Governor and the Equalities Manager

2010
Opening of Arooj Offices by HMP Kirkham Governor

2011
Started to delivery BAME Drop-in Sessions at a further two Prisons
Arooj were invited to sit on REAG at three prisons
Arooj were Runners-Up in Best Community Organisation of the Year, awarded by University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN).
Our volunteers received awards in recognition of their services.

2012
Started pilot project at Preston Prison – To improve engagement of BAME and Muslim prisoners with Prison Drug Treatment Services

2014
Completed Survey of BAME and Muslim Ex-offenders and published findings ‘Reducing offending within BAME and Muslim Communities’

2015
Delivered workshops for BAME/Muslim Female prisoners at HMP Styal
Undertook research in partnership with Lancashire Probation Trust and UCLAN. Published finding ‘Reaching Out’

2016
Arooj became a third party reporting centre for HATE CRIME

2018
Undertook research in partnership with Leeds University and UCLAN. Published findings ‘Faith, Family and Crime’