The Departure Lounge
The Departure Lounge project began as an Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner pilot run by EDP in HMP Exeter. The project was designed to help prisoners with the transition between custody and community and was designed after a long period of consultation with services and service users.
The Departure Lounge Service has two main elements: The Check Out Lounge run inside Exeter Prison, visits hall on a weekly basis, and the Departure Lounge which runs on a daily basis outside in the Visitors Centre at the exit of the prison drive.
The Check Out Lounge
The Check Out Lounge is a multi-agency event for prisoners running 3 or 4 times a month where prisoners can meet with providers from their local community. This service is designed to help them with reintegration into the community. Over 100 organisations have been involved and there have been successful Check Out Area Special events and exploration of a Check Out Being Active parallel session. This is where sports clubs are invited to take part in a regular Check Out Being Active sessions offering taster session and an opportunity to connect with sport of all kinds in their local communities.
The Departure Lounge:
The Departure Lounge runs daily and attendance is entirely voluntary. Prisoners are informed of the service both at the Check Out Lounge and on the morning of release and are invited to attend. This is promoted to prisoners individually before unlock for breakfast.
In collaboration with SMS and healthcare teams those prisoners due to leave are encouraged to collect any essential medications earlier than normal to reduce risks of leaving without them.
People receive a bespoke service focused on addressing any immediate needs that they may have which could put an individual at increased risk of reoffending. These include phone calls, charging phones, giving breakfast and coffee, hot meals to take away, sorting out medications issue, calling probation, speaking to family, handing out clothing and more.