This autumn Dr Stephanie Covington trained around 130 staff members from the prison system and women’s services. This round was not solely for staff from the female estate. Due to the take up and enthusiasm of the Becoming Trauma Informed (BTI) work we welcomed staff from the young offender’s institutes, we trained Inspectors, safer custody leads, policy makers and probation officers.
Along with the training that was delivered we saw a growing interest in this work for close supervision units, mental health work, substance misuse services and the possibilities of this moving to the male estate. We have even heard of this work moving into some police custody suites. It’s been encouraging stuff!
What we are starting to see is a change of language and behaviour of how people are doing things. More and more people in the system appear to be talking about trauma and the impact it has on individuals. Someone on our community day told us that she visited a women’s prison recently and was really encouraged to hear the staff talking about trauma-informed work. We heard that staff from the women’s prisons were visiting each other in order to do ‘walk throughs’ with fresh eyes. This is rarely done, if ever, and we heard how positive it was from a handful of prisons.
We also heard how people are looking at their processes and policies. For example, how long it takes to process a woman on arrival at prison and how often they are asked to relive traumatic experiences so that paper work can be completed. We were told how many of them have softened their reception areas, changed the signs, taken signs down, changed furniture, made areas more welcoming and comfortable. Many of them have trained up to 50 per cent of their staff and plan to reach 100 per cent in the next few months. Some are ready to start the women programming and training women up in order to become facilitators so we see women training the women and staff being able to train staff. We learnt about how prison staff train staff from women’s centres and services who may work with that particular prison which is fantastic.
As the BTI training block round three draws to a close we reflect on where this started. This particular piece of work started only 12 months ago, in September 2015. Since then we have really achieved a lot. BTI is now a work stream within the estate headed up by the Governor of HMP Drake Hall Carl Hardwick and soon it will be on prison officer training (POELT) which is a fantastic development.
One Small Thing and Stephanie Covington have worked closely and effectively with prison service colleagues in order to make so much happen, and I am really excited about what’s to come in the next 12 months.
Founder of One Small Thing
Edwina Grosvenor is a philanthropist and the founder of One Small Thing