To examine and analyse which elements of practice promote growth within specific prison environments
To listen to the views of those who work and reside in prison in order to promote growth
To utilise this knowledge to create meaningful positive changes which can be sustained
Implementing The Growth Project: Applying the Key Principles of Growth
Level 1: Capturing the 'as is' environment within a prison establishment.
This stage of growth aims to build relationships and trust with the staff and residents, so that they can honestly talk about the issues they are experiencing. During this 6 month period, time is spent in focus groups, informal discussions and observations. This period is also dedicated to the building of hope, through presentations, discussions and information given about growth environments and their benefits. At the end of this period an action plan is created to consider how the Growth Project could be implemented at the prison. This makes it meaningful to the individual prison and organisational needs.
The photo-essay research project takes place as a way to appreciate and understand current prison practice. It aimed to uncover those aspects of practice that promote growth. This involved both the staff and residents walking around the prison, capturing quality practice through photography. 5 photo-essays were created by each participant following a short interview. There were over 200 photos within the project and these were displayed in the sports hall, to highlight to the staff and residents which aspects of practice were valued and important. This was good for new staff and was found to improve the level of hope, at a time when the prison was struggling. This project was a innovative way to engage people in the conversation of prison reform.
Level 2: Creating a collective growth vision and implementing this vision.
This period is all about action. As soon as the findings from Level 1 are collated, they are shared with the staff and residents and a vision is co-created, to improve ownership. A skills audit is carried out on all staff and residents at the prison and these are utilised to promote meaningful change. During this Level, events are organised to showcase growth practices and every event is researched and shared with the staff, highlighting the benefits and how they can be improved in the future. During this time, information continues to be gathered through innovative research projects, to keep the line of communication strong between staff and residents and this is fed up to the management regularly, so that actions can be collaboratively discussed.
Level 3: Sustaining change and growth.
This is the last Level of the Growth Project and focuses on creating sustainable processes, so that growth can be embedded within the fabric of a prison. This ranges from departmental discussions surrounding how growth will continue in the future and be safeguarded. Growth is designed into strategy, meeting agendas, recruitment and job descriptions, to ensure staff understand it is an expectation of their role that will bring several benefits. At the end of this period, PRS will provide guidance and regular reviewing opportunities, so that the relationship between the prison and PRS remain strong.
Principles of Growth:
Connecting with Nature
Constructing a Positive Climate
Promoting Well-Being and Experiencing Joy and Peace
Finding Pro-Social Ways of coping with Prison
Meaningful Work- Investing in People and Learning New Things
Experiencing Normality and Feeling Free
We achieve these aims by extending our values into creating quality projects we are proud of and that work! Our values are at the forefront of our practice:
Social Justice- The belief that everyone has the right to rehabilitation, respect and decency.
Reducing Harm- The drive to reduce harm within the prison environment by altering the contextual environment.
Developing Autonomy and Empowering People- The belief that everyone in prison deserves opportunities to grow, to be listened to, to have a voice, to have choices and the opportunities to build social and human capital through the building of meaningful relationships.
Understanding the Complexity of Change- The recognition that change is hard and complex and that perseverance and patience is vital for lasting change.
Making Prison Meaningful- The belief that prison can be meaningful through building trust, having an individualised approach, and developing positive relationships to understand what brings meaning to prisoners. This is believed to promote positive identities through a strength-based approach.
Understanding People- The recognition that everyone needs to be 'seen', so that a deep and diverse understanding of different cultures, genders, sexuality, capabilities, skills, strengths and needs can be sought.
Improving Quality- The collective ambition to promote a 'healthy' prison, promoting quality interactions and using prison as an opportunity to create a safe environment to grow in.
Changing the Conversation around Punishment- To offer a non-punitive culture of communicating and understanding.