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Growth Project Evaluation 

The Growth Project is a research-informed project, which facilitates the development of a rehabilitative culture, through an all-prison approach.  It aims to use research to highlight positive practices that support growth with the ultimate goal of co-creating a rehabilitative environment, which promotes organisational and individual change.

The Growth Project started in September 2016 at HMP Guys Marsh and has been running for two years.  This evaluation examines the extent to which the staff and residents at HMP Guys Marsh understand growth and a rehabilitative culture, how this knowledge is applied to everyday practice, the views of the Growth Project amongst staff and residents, the project impact and the extent to which Growth Events promote the principles of growth.  

This evaluation was carried out by internal and external researchers, in collaboration with the University of Winchester.  It took place during the period of Growth Implementation, after the project had been operating for 18 months.  Level 1 (capturing the “as is” environment) was analysed (N=115) after it concluded in March 2017 and Level 2 (implementing a Growth environment, N=49) has examined at the midway point.  Data was also taken from the People’s Survey (N=247) and post-event research, following each Growth Project event (N=276 in total).

The key findings were as follows:

  • The Growth Project has informed both residents and staff at HMP Guys Marsh about what a rehabilitative climate and culture looks and feels like. 

  • The general view of the Growth Project is positive, optimistic and reassuring with the majority of staff and residents who participated in the evaluation stating that it has had a positive impact on practice, specifically staff-resident relationships and prison cohesion.

  • The positive impact of the Growth Project includes;

    • greater education around rehabilitative culture,

    • more joint working and unity,

    • better relationships with staff and residents,

    • assisting with dynamic security,

    • positive change to the identity of the prison,

    • a greater awareness and appreciation of rehabilitation,

    • the development of positive staff attitudes,

    • an appetite for change, a greater focus on wellbeing and community,

    • reducing anti-social behaviours in residents,

    • embracing diversity and ethical practice,

    • greater meaning to prison and

    • a focus on the principle of normality.  

  • The Growth Project has reached the majority of the population (staff and residents), irrespective of their view on rehabilitation. 

  • Those engaged in the Growth Project expressed a real hope in change and a greater understanding of a rehabilitative culture and personal growth.

  • Those that did not engage in the Growth Project remained cynical in organisational change and the sustainability of a rehabilitative culture and this was a minority. 

  • Areas of development include greater inclusion of all staff and residents at HMP Guys Marsh, greater support and drive from senior management, an analysis into how the impact of growth events can be preserved, further training to increase the responsibility of rehabilitative practices onto all staff and greater attention on “the basics”, as these impact on growth work.   

  • From the analysis of the Growth Project events, it is clear that they address the Principles of Growth and overall, have a positive impact on staff and residents.  

Recommendations include disseminating the collective vision more effectively, with greater inclusion, further training of staff in rehabilitative culture and more investment in the Growth Project to ensure that growth is embedded within everyday practice. 

For a full copy of the report, please contact PRS via the Contact Form