Interventions and classes to tackle 'dangerous associations and criminal lifestyles' delivered within the prison, which is managed by Serco.
01 July 2014
Ethos Journal, published by Serco, spoke to deputy director of HMP Thameside Jeanne Bryant about reducing violent incidents in the prison, which have now stabilised at under 20 per month from a high of more than 90 in early 2013. She spoke about strategies to address the impact of gang membership – inter-gang violence outside the prison was found to have influenced some serious ‘revenge’ attacks within – including Catch22′s contract to deliver interventions that support offenders to ‘change dangerous associations and criminal lifestyles.’
Initial engagement with all offenders occurs within 12 hours of their arrival in the prison by specialist Catch22 workers who understand the environment the offender may have come from and the issues they may face within. Peer workers – fellow prisoners – have also been recruited ‘to help identify problems, alert staff to potential conflicts, and provide an alternative example to encourage non-violent responses to disputes’.
‘Bryant says that better communication has proved to be crucial. The Violence Reduction team, prison security and Catch22 share any potential of risk daily, with a weekly formal meeting to respond to any incidents. These are examined as soon as they happen, and a responsive review held on the day, “to identify if there was anything we could have done to prevent it, and to identify new learning and strategies where necessary”.’
There is also a focus on pastoral care services within the prison, with Catch22 supporting offenders to change the way they think about and approach particular situations.
This approach, along with other support services such as drug and alcohol detox programmes, has resulted in self-reported improvements of 65% in temper control and 63% in ‘coping ability’.