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Improving service transitions for people experiencing multiple disadvantage: Prison release webinar

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The experience of prison for people facing multiple disadvantage is often a reoccurring series of short sentences, which create huge disruption to their lives with limited benefit in terms of rehabilitation. Among Fulfilling Lives beneficiaries, there is an association between spending time in prison and having poorer outcomes. In this webinar that took place on the 10th June 2021, the evaluation team shared findings from their recent study exploring the experience of prison release for people affected by multiple forms of disadvantage and how this transition might be improved.

The VOICES team were privileged to take part, presenting the findings, and subsequent recommendations, of a real-life example of a prison discharge plan entitled, “An Improbable Journey.” (click here for a downloadable pdf)


Below is some feedback kindly provided from attendees of the webinar:


“I have been tasked with strengthening relationships with our Referral Agencies who issue vouchers on our behalf and setting them up as E-referrers. E-referral codes are generated through a foodbank data system and can be issued verbally or via text message so no more red paper vouchers! I attended the webinar to gain a better understanding about the difficulties that prison leavers face. I also wanted to see if there was anything that Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank could do to make the transition less stressful. One of the things that surprised me most was the VOICES case study. The case study really highlighted how difficult the process for prison leavers could be, almost as if they were set up to fail on day one and destined to return to crime. I decided to contact Sharon at VOICES to discuss E-referral with a view of setting them up so that they could issue vouchers to the prison leavers they support on release day. A food parcel could make a huge difference to the person leaving prison. Being able to respond to webinars like this one, working with like-minded organisations and issuing food to those that most need it is what makes my job worthwhile.”

Nicola Shaw, Referral Agency Liaison Coordinator, Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank


“Rideout is a small Stoke-on-Trent arts organisation specialising in drama and theatre related work with marginalised communities, especially those who are in or have had experience of the criminal justice system. I was particularly interested in this month’s Improving Service Transitions webinar on prison release, and the presentation by Sharon Sharmon and Lee Dale from VOICES was a particular highlight. They did an excellent job of demonstrating how agencies whose intent is to support prison leavers can, often unknowingly, set up prison leavers to fail. The VOICES publication, An Improbable Journey, spells out in stark detail, the realities of the first day of release for someone experiencing multiple disadvantage. Rideout has worked with VOICES and Expert Citizens on a number of previous projects and we have always found their knowledge and insight, drawn from those who are ‘expert by experience’, has been first class. We are therefore especially keen to be working with them once again on one of their legacy projects on prison discharge.”

Saul Hewish, artistic director, Rideout (Creative Arts for Rehabilitation).


Please note, this is part two of the webinar, part one can be found on the Fulfilling Lives Evaluation youtube channel here

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