After four years delivering to 18 prisons across the UK, Leap staff, trainers and prisons partners review the work and share plans for the future.
Prisons across England and Wales have seen a continued upward trend in violence and an increase in the number of prisoners with complex needs. Staff shortages, high staff turnover and a significant number of newly qualified prison officers are some of the contributing factors to low staff morale and an escalation of prison violence.
In the last four years, Leap has been delivering our work to 18 prisons across the UK. We have been running programmes including training peer support workers, training conflict practitioners to deliver Leap workshops, as well as staff conflict management training and awareness sessions.
There have been many challenges in this work as a result of systemic structural issues and policy changes affecting the prison system. As a result, we decided to review our prisons work in 2019.
In our new strategic period, we want to see improved relationships within prisons – including relationships between prisoners and staff, relationships between prisoners and especially prisoners' relationship with themselves.
Women and prison staff training together
HMP / YOI Bronzefield Testimonial
As part of the prison’s Wellbeing week, we led one day Understanding Conflict training courses, on the induction wing. Once a month we run 2.5 day Leadership course for residents to become ‘peer workers’.
Ali and Yvonne share their reflections from the past three years working together on this project.
Strategic Vision for Prisons
We believe that through relationship can come rehabilitation. Through improving relationships and networks of support within prison, we also hope to facilitate increased engagement in prison activities, as well as reduced staff stress and turnover.
Our interventions will also support personal development, encouraging changes in mindset among prisoners to improve their sense of self-worth and to enable steps to be taken towards identified goals. We aim to improve the ability and confidence of prisoners and staff to manage conflict, in the longer-term improving feelings of safety and reducing the use of restraint.