The Good Prison Project
Between September 2016 and October 2017 Clinks supported a voluntary sector member of staff in HMP Dartmoor, HMP Exeter and HMP Guys Marsh to implement a bespoke model of voluntary sector coordination reflective of the needs of each prison’s population.
The staff member acted as a single point of contact in each prison and undertook activities to:
- Map existing services to improve access to them and identify gaps in provision
- Ensure voluntary sector staff and volunteers understand the prison environment, population and regime adequately in order to deliver their services efficiently and safely.
- Enhance knowledge of and access to voluntary sector support amongst people in prison
- Develop a strategic role for voluntary organisations working in prison.
The project has shown that a small investment in joined-up partnership working within a prison can have a significant impact for people in prison, prison staff and voluntary sector in organisations. Our evaluation found that well-coordinated voluntary sector activity can:
- Create a more normalised, community-facing prison culture to support rehabilitation by bringing outside organisations in, involving people in prison in delivery and breaking down stereotypes.
- Ensure services are timely and appropriately sequenced, including improved though-the-gate provision.
- Provide evidence of need and what works, including identifying and addressing the needs of people in prison with protected characteristics.
- Contribute to a safer prison environment by improving information about access to support and services and ensuring partners have good knowledge of safer custody processes and procedures.
Consequently, the Good Prison Project continues to be funded directly through HMP Dartmoor, HMP Exeter and HMP Guys Marsh.
As part of the Good Prison Project, Outside In has been designed to bring services working with prisons, and prisoners at point of release from custody, together in a marketplace style event. This event has been held at HMP Exeter and HMP Dartmoor, and aims to provide an opportunity for prisoners to connect with agencies that can support them, provide a networking opportunity for providers, increase understanding of prison including the challenges and opportunities and allow prison staff to connect with external agencies. These events are received extremely positively by both prisoners and providers.