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Jacqueline A (Bennett) Hollows MSc is the founder of Beyond Recovery CIC – an organisation working in the CJS with an innovative Freedom of Mind programme which has been evidenced and had a profound impact over the last five years. Here, she tells the story of what happened in one of her groups when a previous graduate died of a drug overdose…
Mind Beyond Bars #01-19– Charlie’s story
You get to hear and all sorts of things when running groups for inmates in prison. All of humanity turns up in these rooms. Gritty stories of hardship and wrongdoing, traumatic stories of lives damaged, stories of hope and change, and stories of pain and suffering.
This two-day summit is the sixth event of its kind, jointly organised by the RCGP Secure Environments Group, Broadmoor, Ashworth, and Rampton high secure hospitals, Spectrum, Care UK, NHS England, Martindale Pharma, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, HMP Berwyn, West London NHS Trust and Mersey Care NHS Trust.
Following on from the successful event in Glasgow in 2017, the summit will focus on ‘Continuity of Care – safety through continuity’. There is a need to embolden the links between primary and secondary care for people resident in secure settings and the summit organisers are looking to showcase examples of good practice on how organisations can improve on care transition to the community.
Serco announces that it has signed up to the national ‘Ban the Box’ campaign from Business in the Community (BitC), which is creating a fair chance for ex-offenders to compete for jobs and bringing down the £15 billion a year cost of reoffending.
In signing up to the campaign, Serco has agreed to ban the tick box from job application forms asking about unspent criminal convictions across its UK operations and has committed to considering applicants’ skills, experience and ability to do the job before asking about criminal convictions. This means that candidates with a criminal record can now apply for jobs with Serco with the knowledge that they will be assessed on their ability to do the job before any convictions are fairly considered.
Assaults and self-harm incidents in prisons in England and Wales have reached a record high, according to the government’s Safety in Custody quarterly bulletin.
Over the last year, there have been 325 deaths in prison custody - up 8% on the previous year. Out of those, 87 were self-inflicted deaths. A huge 9,485 assaults were recorded against staff, up 27%, and prisoner-on-prisoner assaults reached 23,448.
The report also stated that nearly 50,000 self-harm incidents took place over the last year, up by 20%.
Commenting on the publication of today's safety in custody statistics, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: “Despite the unrelenting effort of many in the system, all of these indicators show that there is no end in sight to the catastrophe that has engulfed many of our prisons.
Gethin Jones is an inspirational speaker, advising prison governors and staff on how to really make an impact on prisoners’ lives. And he should know, as he turned his life around after spending time inside for a string of crimes or, as he puts it, having “a 20-year relationship with the criminal justice system”.
Since making the decision to turn his life around at the age of 34, Gethin has worked for Portsmouth City Council’s public health department and credits a number of prison staff members who believed in him – as they fuelled his need to push himself out of a cell.
Editor Victoria Galligan spoke to Gethin about the work he does now with prison staff and also with young offenders. He describes the impetus to change, his own final straw moment, as a time where he had “hit rock bottom, and was bouncing on the bottom of the floor”. And his experience is exactly what puts Gethin in a position perfect for reflection on the running of a prison – clients value his advice so much because of his past.