At HMP New Hall we have come to believe that the importance of recognising, understanding and responding to the impact of all forms of trauma on the women coming into our custody is essential if we are working towards helping them through their time in prison and beyond.
With this in mind we have begun to implement small changes in our environment and approach with working to hopefully lessen the impact of past trauma and not re-traumatise some very vulnerable women.
Some of the small changes we have introduced have been to update our first night protocol, giving clear guidance for staff on their roles and responsibilities. We have been reviewing how the environment in our reception and first night centres can have an unhelpful effect and look at what we can do to make the women more at ease, particularly if it is their first time in custody. We have developed a new information booklet for all our women to simply and clearly give them all the main information they will need during their stay here. Building improved lines of communication with all the support and counselling services to improve our referral process. We have also begun to roll out the ‘Becoming Trauma Informed’ awareness training package to all staff within our establishment.
It is still very early in our implementation of becoming a trauma informed service and there are many challenges ahead in such a unique and complex prison.
Andy Butterfield is an officer at HMP New Hall