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Developing Practice Together: Prison Growth Project Practice Manual


The Prison Growth Project Practice Manual was co-created by the staff and residents of HMP Guys Marsh, following discussions of how we might embed keyworker and create a structure to practice, which is research informed. That said, the practice manual is not only for prison officers, but is designed in such a way, to include all practitioners.  This is vital for growth and increases the power of rehabilitative practice.


The practice manual has three sections and was specifically developed for the prison, using images and examples that were taken from HMP Guys Marsh.  The rationale behind this approach was to increase the meaningfulness of the manual and make it ‘real’ for those at HMP Guys Marsh. 


This is the first edition of the practice manual, and will be reviewed and developed every six months, following staff and resident feedback.  This makes it a live document, which grows as the prison develops. 


The following sections were collaboratively written;


Section 1: Improvements


This outlined how the manual can be used within practice and why it came about.  Within this section the principles of growth are described, with images and examples to help staff understand their environment.  These principles are linked to rehabilitative theory and desistance-focused ideas.  Following the principles of growth, structures (such as improvement meetings and rehab climate scales) are outlined.  These practices help staff becoming more analytical about their approach.


Section 2: Learning about People in Prison


This section outlines a number of issues associated with the individual, including anxiety, trauma, brain injury and dementia.  These topics were decided by the staff at HMP Guys Marsh and also features key issues linked to staff, including staff burnout and stress. It is important to state the this manual is not just about ‘growing’ residents, but also staff and visitors, as it takes on an all prison approach.


Following on from person-centred issues, other key issues are outlined.  Every section within this manual has the same format: a brief outline of what the issue is, a short summary of the key literature associated with that issue, key questions that can be used in 1-2-1 sessions to help staff work with these issues and signposting to key websites and documents which may deepen knowledge.


Key issues in prison are described after individual issues are outlined.  This includes spice, smoking, anger management and bullying.  The final sub-section to this part of the manual then discusses rehabilitation in prison, using the literature to justify and magnify the impact of the services and projects that currently operate at the prison.  These include yoga, art and music, connecting with nature, relationships and prison design.  Within this sub-section, 1-2-1 session plays are outlined, which cover each principle of growth and the cycle of change.  This aims to assist staff to have specific, directed conversations about those aspects of life that bring growth. 


Section 3. Research and Events


The final section outlines all the research which has taken place by the Growth Project to date.  This includes findings from key events (e.g. wellbeing days and the community fayre), courses (such as the mindfulness based yoga course which was designed by a resident), data from the People’s Survey and targeted analysis within specific areas of the prison.  This section aims to highlight the importance of researching practice and how such a task can bring hope and reassurance, during the development of a rehab culture.


Following the completion of this manual, staff trained was delivered to help staff understand the practice and how it can practically help them develop their rehabilitative practice. 


If you work with correctional work and would like PRS to develop a bespoke manual for your workplace, please contact PRS through the contact tab.