This week the Growth Team recruited a new group of residents in the prison. They had to complete an application, then carry out a group task whereupon they were a team of governors preparing a “growth prison” for the inspectors, and finally they were interviewed to assess their values and spirit for prison reform. I was unsure of what to expect although we had gone through this process twice previously. This time was a lot more structured and robust and it was evidenced throughout the applications which presented strong themes throughout such as equality, meaning, relationships and improvement. People wanted to be a part of something. When we sat back and watched the group presentations it was clear that those who had applied to be team members
cared about the prison and making it a better place. We then had the interviews and they just blew me away. Each of the men were articulate, passionate, hopeful and dedicated. I sometimes forget that these very men have to endure the system that we have created and live in the reality of prison, as I leave each day to go home to my family. It seems so many people want to help make things better and just need a space where they could express this desire. It was regenerating and inspiring and I left the day feeling hopeful.