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Fathers Inside participants are 40% less likely to re-offend!

25 Jan 2017

Safe Ground is delighted to receive our latest Justice Data Lab report, for the first time including Fathers Inside for analysis. Safe Ground were the first organisation to offer data to the Justice Data Lab, which is a big risk for organisations, particularly of our size. This report clearly demonstrates the significant impact of Fathers […] … more »

CJA awards

28 Nov 2016

The Criminal Justice Alliance awards were held to celebrate a ‘marked contribution to effectiveness, fairness or new models of delivery’ within the criminal justice system. The big winners of the night were Storybook Dads, a charity that offers the chance for children to hear their parents read stories to them from prison. Runners-up were SAFE! […] … more »

Prison Safety and Reform

28 Nov 2016

We attended the recent speech by Elizabeth Truss detailing the plan for prisons to ensure better safety and reduce re-offending. Topics included putting governors at the centre of all services, increasing staffing levels and creating new prisons. In the report there is evidence there will be new changes, however there isn’t certainty when they will […] … more »

We MOVED. HOME.

26 Sep 2016 by Obinna Nwosu

Taking up temporary residency at the National Theatre (Dorfman Theatre), Southbank again this year, somewhat ironically it hosted our discussions around MOVING. HOME. The symposium was the last in a trilogy of events spread throughout 2016 that celebrate Safe Ground’s 21st birthday. We used this important milestone in our unfolding history to take a moment […] … more »

Walking Human

26 Sep 2016 by Obinna Nwosu

On 22nd September I was lucky enough to attend the most recent Koestler Trust exhibition, ‘We Are All Human’. This year I was part of a walking tour around the exhibition, looking at the artwork in more depth, gaining insight into each piece. The tour was hosted by Koestler’s very own Hosts, who enthusiastically gave us a […] … more »

Family Ties at Parc

16 Jun 2016 in

The most recent unannounced HM Inspection of HMP/YOI Parc has been published. Despite the wider issues around safety and violence that afflict Parc, outcomes for prisoners in terms of both purposeful activity and resettlement were found to be good. Inspectors found the prison had placed offender management ‘at the heart of its work to reduce reoffending’ and there were examples of good practice such as the family interventions unit. Safe Ground’s Family Man and Fathers Inside programmes have been integral to the Invisible Walls project and a key component on the Family Intervention Unit (FIU) alongside a wide range of additional activities including; Barnardos, local Scouts and childrens’ service providers, parents’ support and family learning opportunities, homework clubs and cookery classes. Safe Ground is proud to be involved in a pioneering development and to have the confidence of the FIU senior leadership in our methodologies to contribute to this important work. Below are the highlights from the HM Inspection report, to read the report in full please click here.

Children, families and contact with the outside world

The prison worked with families to ensure they were involved in the rehabilitation and resettlement of prisoners. The approach was radical and innovative and probably the best we have seen in any prison. The prison had recently been awarded the ‘Investors in Families’ accredited chartermark – the only prison in the European Union to have received the award. (pg. 57 HMI report Dec 15-Jan 16)

T4 wing remained the family interventions unit, holding up to 60 prisoners, where prisoners could access a range of programmes and activities to support and develop their family relationships; partners and children were also encouraged to be part of this approach. Any prisoner could apply for a place on the unit, with priority to those felt most likely to benefit. (pg. 57 HMI report Dec 15-Jan 16)

T4 also incorporated the ‘Invisible walls’ project, a four-year initiative offering targeted help and support for 20 prisoners at a time in the last 12 months of their sentence and the first six months following release. The project focused on some of the most chaotic and problematic families, and was designed to break the cycle of intergenerational offending. Initial indications were that the work was having a substantial impact on reconviction rates. (pg. 57 HMI report Dec 15-Jan 16)

A prison analysis suggested that 69% of prisoners at Parc received regular visits compared with an average of 48% across the rest of England and Wales. The prison encouraged prisoner involvement in the lives of their children, and many parent/teacher meetings had been arranged at the prison. (pg. 57 HMI report Dec 15-Jan 16)

Keep your eyes peeled for a Safe Ground interview with Trustee and Head of Family Interventions Programmes, Corin Morgan-Armstrong, in a few weeks!

Full article »

Unlocking Potential: A Review of Education in Prison

19 May 2016 in

Dame Sally Coates review, Unlocking Potential: A Review of Education in Prison, is the first time for a long time that education in prison has been systematically analysed with a view to radical change.

The publication of the review, on the same day as the Queen’s speech which heralds a new system of prison governance and outcome measurement, is symbolic of Government emphasis on improving what and how prison can deliver to wider society as well as to the people it directly affects.

The Coates review cannot respond to all the changes people in prison, their families and staff might want to see; but it does deliver a range of recommendations and suggestions for doing things differently, some of which, at least in the short term, Safe Ground agrees are eminently sensible.

The review recognises, for the first time and in concrete terms, the essential value of both arts education and of relationships programmes and support. For Safe Ground and many of our colleagues, this will be welcome recognition of the engagement, progression and contributions to overall achievement individual learners, families and institutions can make.

Safe Ground is responsible for a wide range of relationships programmes in prison and the community and the Coates review gives good indication that each one will be technically supported and encouraged (at Governors’ discretion) in prisons nationally.  Family Man and Fathers Inside both involve graduates from the programmes as mentors on further programmes; something the Coates review is keen to develop.

Our work with Novus to train and develop the facilitation skills and confidence of teachers in prison is another significant aspect of the review we feel confident will add enormous value to the improvements Dame Sally hopes to achieve.

Our programme of support to Prison Officers will enable teams of mixed grade Officers and managers to consider how they can further embed, encourage and support education as part of the Whole Prison approach and we are optimistic about the impact of this approach.  Safe Ground’s newer programmes, Man Up and Our Own Stories both fit the Personal and Social Development curriculum and we are pleased to see the Coates review has taken into account the varying and widely ranging educational experiences and needs of learners in prison. The emphasis on recognizing learning difficulty and disability and of simultaneously aiming to enable higher level and continuous education is something Safe Ground programmes intend to support.

Safe Ground is committed to developing social capital and improving the well-being of people in prison and local communities through the arts and education and we very much hope the implementation of the recommendations in the Coates review will support and enable the Governors and staff who so often express their desires to deliver high quality services and programmes, to do so.

To read the review in full please click here.

Full article »

Safe Ground broadcasting live on Wandsworth Radio!

14 Apr 2016 by Keisha Bhamra

This week Communities and Communications Manager, Obinna Nwosu, joined Ian Barclay for the ArtsWatch programme on Wandsworth Radio. To catch up and listen to the interview about Safe Ground’s activities during the Wandsworth Arts Festival as well as our 21st birthday celebrations, click here or listen below. … more »

The Thinking Home Experience by Gus

14 Apr 2016 by Obinna Nwosu

As a result of our successful participation in the Essex Book Festival last year, as part of Freedom and Expression at the Free Word Centre, we were invited to participate again in March 2016, this time as part of its Thinking Home strand of events at the Firstsite art gallery in Colchester. One of our […] … more »

Dads Behind Bars: Fathers Inside at HMPYOI Parc

07 Apr 2016 in

HMPYOI Parc’s Family Intervention Unit (FIU) has been featured on a recent Channel 4 report about Dads behind bars. The report focuses on the groundbreaking reform programme at the prison which helps to reinforce men’s links with their children and families in order to prevent re-offending. Safe Ground has been in partnership with Parc prison for 5 years and is proud that our programmes are a core component of the FIU.

Our well established programme, Fathers Inside, features prominently throughout the documentary.  The excellent and long standing facilitator, Trevor Latham, leads a session on ‘What makes the perfect dad?’ allowing the men to work together and identify the responsibilities that are needed for their child and partner. The documentary also looks at the journey of Jonathan Gilbert, a Fathers Inside graduate and peer mentor, and the positive impact the programme has had on his relationships.

Safe Ground Trustee and Head of Family Interventions at Parc, Corin Morgan-Armstrong, made the case that “…you can learn how not to be an offender but we can’t teach them to feel that, their family can…”. At Safe Ground we base our values on this notion because we believe that learning to understand relationships is as important as learning to read and write.

The Family Intervention Unit at Parc has thus far indicated positive outcomes. Less than a third of their 400 graduates have gone on to re-offend (compared with a national rate exceeding 50 per cent). These figures are anecdotal at this stage and not conclusive but do demonstrate the progress the model can make on reoffending rates. However, the impact of Safe Ground’s work over 21 years is well evidenced; most recently five Ministry of Justice Data Lab reports all show another of our programmes, Family Man, demonstrating a 37% reduction against 44% in frequency reoffending for its graduates when compared to a matched control group.

The efficacy of the pioneering family intervention model has prompted its current roll out at public sector prison HMP Erlestoke, featuring at its core both Fathers Inside and Family Man. Safe Ground is delighted to be involved in this partnership and is looking forward to the Education Review in light of these reforms.

To watch the documentary in full please watch below or click here.

Full article »

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