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Criminal Justice Management Conference

The 18th Criminal Justice Management Conference is a national event bringing together over 300 professionals in prison and probation services alongside police, central government and courts who, together, have a joint responsibility to shape current reform and the future direction of policy in the criminal justice system.

To secure your place while availability lasts, please visit www.cjm-conference.co.uk/registration and quote ‘CUST100’ on the booking page to receive £100 off.

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Abus Padlocks competition - Jonathan Low-Hang

We are giving away two sets of two top-quality padlocks, in conjunction with Nothing But Padlocks – suppliers of padlocks to the police.

The sets (the Abus 701B/45 – a brass, double-bolted padlock with a sealed lock body – and the smaller Abus 155/30, with combination for keyless entry) will be given away to two lucky readers.

Here, Jonathan Low-Hang from Nothing But Padlocks tells The Custodial Review about its top-quality locks.

Tell us about your business… 

Nothing But Padlocks has been trading online for nine years. We feel we are the leading specialist in padlock supply in the UK. 

We expect to provide further specialist advice to larger organisations such as the Met Police as well as the individual customer.

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Art, Drama & Creative Writing with Bryan Gibson

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.

A similarly prized work is Michael Crowley’s Behind the Lines: Creative Writing with Offenders and People at Risk published in 2012. It shows how imaginative approaches to confronting offending behaviour - and imparting skills valuable on the outside - can have a real impact on whether someone returns to custody.

Michael is a seasoned advocate for improving literacy in the prison setting. Quite apart from giving presentations at establishments such as Bristol and Erlestoke, he was for six years writer in residence at Lancaster Farms (then a young offender institution). He also helped set up a residency at Arohata Women’s Prison in New Zealand in 2014.

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Books For and By Prisoners - Going Straight

To my surprise one of our books was recently returned by a reviewer saying, ‘Little point right now, books are not getting to prisoners’. She explained that they are either being refused or held up by security due to the ease with which drugs can be imprinted on paper, so that in many prisons they have been stopped or are being photocopied with inbuilt delay given other priorities. I’ve no way of knowing if this is true or how general, whether just a few establishments or a wider approach. My call to the Ministry of Justice Press Office elicited first a denial, then a maybe and finally a promise to investigate how widespread the problem is. They’ve not yet come back.

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Bean pastie: While working with Food Matters, HMP Wandsworth has reduced the amount of processed food and introduced more vegetable and fish dishes cooked from scratch

Food can impact on a prisoner's behaviour, health and even chance of rehabilitation. Here Helen Sandwell, Project Lead at Food Matters Inside & Out, explains how…

The Food Matters Inside and Out project is run by the charity Food Matters. It aims to change food systems within prisons and, in doing so, enable prisoners to make healthier food choices. The project was piloted at HMP Wandsworth and is currently at HMP High Down.

Various factors need to be in place for an individual to make heathier food choices. Not only do the food choices available to them need to be health-promoting and affordable, but also the person needs to have sufficient knowledge, attitude and intent to eat that food.

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Roll Out Of In-Cell Phones To More Prisons

Commenting, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

 

“This is very welcome news for prisoners’ families, who are very often the key to a crime free future for people leaving prison. David Gauke is right to point to other benefits too. Access to legitimate in-cell phones can reduce tension and self-harm. It also undermines the market for illegal mobile phones in prison, and all the violence associated with it.

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Health & Justice Summit Liverpool

This two-day summit is the sixth event of its kind, jointly organised by the RCGP Secure Environments Group, Broadmoor, Ashworth, and Rampton high secure hospitals, Spectrum, Care UK, NHS England, Martindale Pharma, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, HMP Berwyn, West London NHS Trust and Mersey Care NHS Trust.

Following on from the successful event in Glasgow in 2017, the summit will focus on ‘Continuity of Care – safety through continuity’. There is a need to embolden the links between primary and secondary care for people resident in secure settings and the summit organisers are looking to showcase examples of good practice on how organisations can improve on care transition to the community.

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The Custodial Facilities Forum meetings taking place

Editor Victoria Galligan chaired the speakers' sessions at the recent Custodial Facilities Forum and outlines the networking event which welcomed delegates from across the sector…

The third annual custodial facilities forum took place in November at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire. Organised by Stable Events, the forum gathered both supplier delegates and project delegates, allowing them one-to-one meeting time, the opportunity to network with fellow professionals, and hear from speakers in the field. This was a useful event in which the public and private sector could make vital connections and share ideas.

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Picture: Paul Gaskin at HMP Doncaster, one of the prisons run by Serco on behalf of the Ministry of Justice

Serco announces that it has signed up to the national ‘Ban the Box’ campaign from Business in the Community (BitC), which is creating a fair chance for ex-offenders to compete for jobs and bringing down the £15 billion a year cost of reoffending.

In signing up to the campaign, Serco has agreed to ban the tick box from job application forms asking about unspent criminal convictions across its UK operations and has committed to considering applicants’ skills, experience and ability to do the job before asking about criminal convictions. This means that candidates with a criminal record can now apply for jobs with Serco with the knowledge that they will be assessed on their ability to do the job before any convictions are fairly considered.  

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Chaplains - Confessions of a Prison Chaplain

Waterside Press are giving away a copy of Confessions of a Prison Chaplain by Mary Brown and Opening the Doors: A Prison Chaplain’s Life on the Inside by Paul Gill in a prize worth over £30. Here, Bryan Gibson writes about the titles which follow the authors' work…

A stereotype image of the prison chaplain is perhaps of a ‘meddling do-gooder’ who can embarrass hardened inmates by talking to them as if they are children. Someone ‘born yesterday’ who is distant, easy to con, wears a ‘dog-collar’ or beads, is not from the establishment concerned, and who pops up now and again with a kindly smile on his face (unlike the guards).

But modern chaplains are not like that – and they can be a real ‘safety valve’ and outside link. Nowadays they are likely to be from one of a number of faiths (or even none), part of a team – including women – dedicated to a non-judgmental approach. They are a central component in diffusing tensions, reducing re-offending and helping offenders to change (or rescue) heart, mind and even life. If this sounds pompous it’s the nature of the work!