Governor of HMP Drake Hall
I have been a prison governor since 2005 and am currently Governor of HMP/YOI Drake Hall Prison which is a female closed resettlement prison in the Midlands. I became involved with One Small Thing when Stephanie Covington and Edwina Grosvenor made an inspirational visit to Drake Hall in 2015 whilst making my staffing group aware of the core work of being trauma informed.
I have, since this visit, recognised the importance of my staffing group and partners being trauma informed and have used this a as a key component of Drake Hall’s full Enabling Environment for which we have just been accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
I am pleased that Luke Sergeant, Deputy Director of Custody for the Female Estate, has assigned me as his lead to assist other establishments in planning and implementing being trauma informed across the whole female estate. I believe once established that this will have a significant impact on all the women we care for and will improve working relationships.
Founder of One Small Thing
I have worked in prisons since I was 18 years old. I spent part of my year off between leaving school and going to university working in Kathmandu central prison in Nepal. I have also had a long association with Styal prison in Cheshire. I have worked in the House of Lords for the Bishop of Prisons and I sit on the Women’s Advisory Board, which advises the government on reforms to the female prison estate.
The original inspiration for what became One Small Thing came from a Nigerian woman I met while working in Styal prison in 2004. Her desperate story left me feeling outraged. It also taught me that a few small acts of compassion and understanding can make all the difference. You can read more about this story by clicking on ‘How we got here’ on the left of this page.
In 2014 I worked with a number of others in the Women at Risk Coalition to champion the importance of trauma-informed practice with criminalised women. Together we brought the leading trauma expert in the US, Dr Stephanie Covington, to the UK to deliver a programme of training to criminal justice professionals. Her trip, which took her from Scotland to London, from prisons to parliament was a huge success. It was clear this training was popular and people wanted to know more. I established One Small Thing to continue this work.
We can all avoid inflaming potentially volatile situations by being mindful of the other person's life history. Trauma-informed practice can help criminal justice professionals deal with potentially difficult and conflictual situations. A small amount of knowledge can have a huge impact on safety.
I am the Director of Women's Breakout, the national infrastructure organisation working with voluntary sector organisations across England and Wales delivering gender specific community based alternatives to custody for women; and engaging with strategic partners in the Criminal Justice System, including the Ministry of Justice, the National Offender Management Service and the private sector.
Being involved in One Small Thing is an exciting opportunity to bring about a step change in the way women are supported when they come into contact with the criminal justice system. For the majority of women in this situation, the reality of their lives is that they have suffered abuse and trauma which has limited their opportunities and the choices they make. I hope that through this work, more professionals in the criminal justice system will understand the needs of women, and the best way to support them to a better life.
I studied economics and political studies before embarking on a career history which spans the realms of prestige motor manufacturing, city financial institutions and the third sector. My extensive experience ranges from fundraising to financial strategic policy devising and implementation.
I am a member of The Institute of Fundraisers, and my interests include penal and European reform, theatre, reading, socialising, family time and Charlton Athletic FC.
I served three and a half years of a seven year prison term for fraud.
Women in Prison
Dr Kate Paradine is the Chief Executive of Women in Prison.
After many years as a practitioner in the voluntary sector and probation service, I worked in HMP Holloway during the 1990s before becoming the Ministry of Justice policy lead on women in the criminal justice system. I worked closely with Baroness Corston during her review and on the implementation of her report recommendations.
Currently, I am working in a voluntary capacity with Hibiscus Initiatives. I strongly believe that the adoption of trauma-informed practice will make a very real difference to the lives of women caught up in the criminal justice system, and indeed to the staff who work with them.
I am Head of Psychotherapy and a Wing Therapist at HMP Grendon, which is a wholly therapeutic prison for men comprising of four main therapeutic communities, an assessment unit and a TC+ designed to facilitate the TC milieu for people with learning disabilities. I’m a UKCP registered psychotherapist and have spent over a decade providing individual therapy in prisons on an ‘out-patient’ basis on the prison wings before moving to the therapeutic communities at HMP Grendon.
Prior to qualifying in psychotherapy, I was a prison governor grade for over 17 years and have held both operational and policy posts. I have held senior training posts including head of prison management training, head of operational training and head of training for new prison officers. In addition I was operational advisor to the women’s policy group at prison headquarters for a period. My main interests since qualifying in psychotherapy have been personality disorders and the effects of long-term trauma.
I am so glad to be part of this project, as all my prison experience has taught me that not only have many prisoners (both men and women) suffered trauma in their lives before going on to commit crimes, but prisons themselves can be experienced as traumatising for both prisoners and for prison staff. This is something which is often not recognised and yet it underpins almost any interaction within our prisons.
One Small Thing epitomises the great work that can be done when we begin to understand the impact we all have on each other.
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
I currently work as the Care Quality and Workforce Development Manager for Offender Care Services in Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust. We provide a range of healthcare services including primary care, substance misuse and mental health across a number of prisons, community forensic teams and court diversion teams across London and the South East of England.
I worked for five years at HMP Holloway (the largest women’s prison in Europe), and have been instrumental in developing an academic programme to address the complex health and social care needs of women caught up in the criminal justice system. This work has included a conference led by Baroness Corston and working with Edwina Grosvenor on the delivery of Dr Stephanie Covington’s workshop programme in 2014.
There is a need for a project like One Small Thing to provide a network for practitioners and academics to share best practice and new developments in trauma-informed care.
I have a long track record of delivering, developing and managing a range of services for women including residential treatment services for women with substance misuse issues, community-based services for women who are either at risk of, or involved in the criminal justice system, outreach services for women who street sex work and also support services for women in HMP Eastwood Park.
These services all provided by a Gloucestershire-based charity called Nelson Trust. Nelson Trust Women’s Services have utilised the evidence-based trauma-informed recovery programmes developed by Dr Stephanie Covington since 2010.
I am involved in the ambitious One Small Thing project because I believe that trauma-informed practices and approaches can have a positive impact on women who are in prison or are in various services. This approach takes into account women’s experiences and considers the impact of trauma on a woman’s life, thereby enabling a more understanding, compassionate approach. I believe that all services need to become trauma-informed. This can enable both service providers and service users to have an understanding of survival strategies and coping behaviours, which in turn will inform a compassionate response and more effective emotional management strategies.
In my own life, I have overcome numerous difficulties which influence and inform how I approach my work. Therefore, I know, both personally and professionally, that a relational, trauma-informed approach can have significant impact on facilitating a process of change.
Eight years ago, I joined the Prison Service working as a wing officer on A wing at HMP Send in Surrey. The wing was split into two halves, downstairs being a regular wing and upstairs being a woman's Democratic Therapeutic Community (DTC).
At first I knew very little about the DTC, however after several months of talking to the women and staff on the community I decided it was something I would be interested in being part of, and applied to become a Therapeutic Community Specialist Officer. I have now worked on the DTC for just over seven years and it has been an extremely rewarding career move.
In the past, I have worked in other areas of the criminal justice system and have a good knowledge of the journey that women can follow when involved in crime and I could see the DTC as a way of changing that direction. Last year, I was invited to attend a conference in London led by Dr Stephanie Covington concerning creating gender-responsive and trauma-informed services for women in the justice system. Having worked in a DTC with women who have suffered huge amounts of trauma in their lives I could relate to a lot of what Dr Covington was trying to communicate to us and how it could help us to understand women with very complex needs.
When I was invited to be a part of the One Small Thing Advisory Board, I knew it was something I wanted to be involved in to create a more successful way of addressing the traumatic histories of women in the prison system.