Reflecting on the past few weeks..
It’s been a busy few weeks and as we continue with our evidence gathering, through our interviews with people in prison, prison leavers and their families, we have also been working hard, behind the scenes on a few other things to promote participation and raise awareness of our campaign.
It became apparent to us that an emerging gap in our evidence gathering is the under representation of women in prison and prison leavers. To help address this we have recently engaged with The View Magazine and the Muslim Women in Prison (MWIP) project. That adds two more CJS Charities who have committed their precious time and resources to work alongside our partnership. We are so appreciative of this, because as a campaign team and as the three partnership organisations, we know that during this time, demand for our support continues to increase.
Over that past few weeks, we have started to receive support from more individual prisons. We would like to thank the staff members and prisoners at HMP Brixton, HMP Woodhill and HMP Hollesley Bay. We’re appreciative of the levels of interest and support. Its an example of how establishments can maintain an important focus on equality and diversity, even in these most challenging times and, we hope that, through our campaign, we are managing to provide a much needed outlet to people in prisons who might sometimes feel they are forgotten.
To make sure our reach continues to go as far and wide as possible, we have worked with National Prison Radio (NPR), to produce a series of adverts about our campaign, that will be broadcast three times a day, from August to the beginning of September. We’d like to thank NPR for working creatively with us to help spread our important message. We’re hopeful that our catchy adverts will grab the attention of people as they tune in to this valuable method of communication and provides them with a connection with the outside world.
For those people in prison who like a topical read, we have worked with Inside Time. We have written an article about our campaign, explaining who’s involved, why we are doing it and how people can get involved. The article will be in the September print edition of Inside Time and published on their website. With many of our campaign team, having had experience of working in prisons, we know this prison newspaper has a wide circulation and, we especially like how there are so many diverse contributions from serving prisoners, so we are confident news of our campaign will be read and shared among many more. Thank you to the Inside Time editorial team.
Of course, we remain aware that the impact of Covid-19 in prisons impacts staff too so, we also want to inform staff across the wider HMPPS of what we are doing. We were pleased to accept an offer from the HMPPS Insights team to write a blog for publication on their website. As part of their commitment to learning lessons and developing good practice, we have had early discussions with HMPPS Insights about sharing our findings. This transparency is important to us; we hope it provides some reassurance that our work is all about improving outcomes and how we can effectively work, alongside HMPPS, to achieve that.
We will be living with the impact of Covid-19 for a long time and it’s likely that, within our prisons, things will never return to how they were previously. Our aim is to use this campaign to try to make sure the legacy of this pandemic can result in some positive outcomes for change within a very challenging system.