The Custodial Review editor Victoria Galligan spoke to Pete Bell, the founder of the Step Out Stay Out programme within prisons. Here, Pete describes how sport turned his life around and set him on a path to help others to rehabilitate…
Pete Bell isn’t just a football coach. He is also a mentor to the inmates he works with and can empathise with them as he has spent time in prison on the other side of the cell door.
From 1990, Pete served time in the Criminal Justice System and says, “I racked up 10 convictions, I was drinking heavily and had been through a custody battle – and then my son passed away. He was two.
“What turned things around for me was when I faced my final sentence five weeks after my son died – I was expecting to get around five years in prison.
“But the judge’s humility towards me meant that he could see that sending me to prison was not right for me.”
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The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has today (21 August) launched its second officer welfare, demand and capacity survey, the findings of which will give a full picture of the main challenges officers face across the 43 forces.
Importantly, the survey will allow valuable comparisons to be made from previous results, giving police officers the opportunity to provide their opinion on current welfare, demand and capacity issues.
Nearly 2,000 police officers voluntarily quit the service over the past 12 months – an increase of 31% over the past four years*.
Numbers leaving each year are rising and now a new leavers’ survey by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) provides greater insight into the reasons why. It showed:
- More than half (52.5%) cited morale as their reason for leaving
- 43.8% said it was the impact of the job on their family/ personal life and 43.3% on their psychological health
- And a staggering 69.4% felt the police service had failed in its obligation to provide pay increases to maintain their standard of living
In addition, 64.5% said they would never consider re-joining the police service after they had left.
Efforts to reduce the number of women in prison for non-violent offences have received a significant boost, with £520,000 of National Lottery funding.
Announced today (16 August), the funding will extend the Prison Reform Trust's Transforming Lives Programme.
In the year 2017–18 prison inspectors documented some of the most disturbing jail conditions they had ever seen, according to Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons.
Launching his third annual report, Mr Clarke said these conditions had no place in the prison system in an advanced nation in the 21st century. “Violence, drugs, suicide and self‑harm, squalor and poor access to education are again prominent themes.”
Inspectors at the rat-infested HMP Liverpool could not remember worse conditions and the tragic toll of self-inflicted deaths at HMP Nottingham led Mr Clarke to describe the jail as “fundamentally unsafe.” The iconic Wormwood Scrubs in London suffered from appalling living conditions, violence, poor safety and seemingly intractable problems over repeated inspections.
The new National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales has been announced today.
John Apter, former Chair of Hampshire Police Federation, has been confirmed as the first National Chair to be voted in by police officers up and down the country.
Professional breathalysers used by HM Police, Prisons and National Probation services are required to meet today’s MEDACX standards and provide specifically required operational functionality to enable the various organisations to fulfil their duties.
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The new Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales says he is “honoured and humbled” to have been elected to the position.
Mr Apter was selected ahead of Phill Matthews, PFEW’s Conduct and Performance lead, who had also challenged for the position.
Despite financial cut-backs, the creative side of prison life always seems to win through. Events such as the annual Koestler Awards are evidence of this.
So is the sterling work of, for example, Birmingham’s Geese Theatre, whose The Geese Theatre Handbook: Drama with Offenders and People at Risk has been a staple manual for trainers of all kinds since we had the privilege of working on it with them at the start of the millennium.