Family Man is a course about family relationships. It uses drama and group work to enable participants to find new ways of thinking and behaving in prison and on release.
This 7 week programme helps to prevent institutionalisation and re-offending by providing the basic social and life skills to help offenders understand the benefits of being part of a family and a community. Family Man provides an approach to learning that is suitable for mixed ability groups and involves a variety of tasks including role play, drawing, discussion and physical activities. Students are introduced to challenging and sensitive issues using fictional characters in stories and film. The finale is a presentation that allows the students to show off their new knowledge and skills (and the benefits of the course) to a wider audience. This spreads awareness among other prisoners and also internal and external agents.
The course was co-developed with NOMS and with the collaboration of prisoners and their families.
Family Man was revised in response to the Social Exclusion Unit Report which identified the importance of family involvement in an offenders’ learning journey in order to reduce the risk of reoffending. Safe Ground worked with prisoners’ and their familes from six establishments in order to address this need and the revised programme was launched in July 2009.
The revised Family Man course features two principal new developments:
- A unique opportunity to work with a ‘Supporter’
Family Man now requires the student to nominate an adult Supporter (relative, partner, volunteer) to work with throughout the 7 week course. Activities include letter writing, a dedicated Supporters’ workshop and a ‘What Next’ day where the pair will meet with representatives from internal and external resettlement and support agencies.
- Family Action Plan
The prisoner and his Supporter work towards the creation of a Family Action Plan. All goals are ‘SMART’ which ensures they have identified robust and achievable progression routes for the student.
Family Man provides a complete package (free of charge to prisons) that includes lesson plans, student workbooks, an award-winning video, and also recruitment materials. It caters for all teachers – those new to prison education through to teachers with many years of experience. The course has been designed to contribute to a range of Key Performance Targets.
NOCN Progression Units
Family Relationships, level one
Developing Personal Development Skills, level one
Developing Group and Teamwork Communication Skills, level one
When a student achieves two of the above NOCN units, he will be eligible for a NOCN Level one Award in Progression.
Key Skills: Communication, Level 1. This award is soon to be replaced by Functional Skills, English and Family Man will provide an opportunity for students to practice the skills needed for accreditation.
*All units and awards are on the Qualifications and Credit Framework.
Summary of benefits
- Graduate eligibility for three NOCN units
- Immediate results
- Helps achieve Key Performance Targets in Pathways 2, 6 & 7
- Credibility with prisoners, prison staff, and teachers
- Prisoners take responsibility for their own learning
- Promotes progression routes into offending behaviour programmes, education and employment
- Helps prevent institutionalisation and social exclusion
- Prisoners are motivated to improve communication with relatives