Safer Cornwall visits HMP Eastwood Park

27 January 2023

Written by Amy, Heidi, Serann & Cat

The team outside HMP Eastwood Park

On 19th January 4 of our Experts By Experience along with Celia Davis, Zoe Norman and Mary Greener visited HMP Eastwood Park Prison in Gloucestershire. They wanted a better understanding of the challenges and support in the Prison and to find out what support prisoners might need when they return to Cornwall from prison.

They were given a guided tour of some of the facilities available which included a fantastic new gym, art class rooms and a large variety of educational courses that are available for the residents, as well as a business enterprise making soap for the John Lewis stores. They were then taken to the drug rehabilitation unit which uses the 12 steps approach, where they had the opportunity to meet Alicia who is due for release next month, she had completed the course herself which has given her the confidence to help others through the process too and she is most looking forward to a Chinese Meal when she comes out as well as rebuilding her life with her Mother and son.

They all thought the 12 steps programme was an excellent platform for genuine rehabilitation, giving the individual the space and time to build a firm foundation for continued success, within themselves and also within their external family environment. It was clear that the women would greatly benefit from additional outside support for moving forward in their journey in the community, which could be added to their specific care plans.

During their time they were able to speak to some of the women in their own wings, they were all very chatty, friendly and very open by even showing the team their rooms which were mostly shared. It was made apparent by the women they spoke to, that more support was needed around housing, particularly appropriate housing away from their past life and habits especially after completing the 12 steps programme.

The Mother and Baby unit sounded really good although travel from Cornwall is very expensive for visitors, so the women from Cornwall may not benefit as much as others who have family nearer the Prison. Other pressing issues bought up were mainly transport home and needing more “General Support” to get them back on their feet and stable within their communities after release.

The team were surprised how much internal support was on offer by the overall facility and staff, who really seemed to care, even though they were short staffed themselves they do their best to accommodate, however some classes are limited due to staffing issues.

Everyone found the overall experience very informative, positive and though provoking. They all feel very honoured to have had this experience and would love to assist further where possible.

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