SPS has four main pillars to its mission and these are:Custody – we will keep in secure custody those who are sent to us by the court.Order – we will provide a structured, ordered and disciplined regime for those in our custodyCare - we will care for those in our charge for all of their healthcare needs and do so with compassion and without favourOpportunity – we will provide them with the opportunity to learn whilst working, address their offending behaviour and build their self-belief and self worth.These are fundamental to the service delivery for SPS.
So what does the SPS estate cons15 Prisons (2 Private Sector) spread across the country8000 prisoners7600 in custody350-400 HDC (Electronic Tagging)3500 2 years to Life Sentence4500 2 years or less (incl HDC)Important to note that for these short term prisoners, their sentence is reduced by half, so if they are given a year sentence they will only serve six months. This provided limited opportunity for learning or behavioural change.
HMP Edinburgh was built on the current site in 1910 but has recently completed a £120 million redevelopment programme.It has reduced from 48 buildings to just 15 and benfits from very modern and efficient building systems.
Edinburgh is a Community Facing prison, by that I mean it takes from the local Lothian and Borders population but also other prisoners from all over Scotland.We have a tradition of community engagement and that means partnership with the local authority agencies and NGOs to deliver service to prisoners and their families.Some of the issues presenting from this population are:872 prisoner places provided, 650 convicted, 220 remand.50% persistent substance misuse issues35% mental health diagnosisThere is the full range of offences committed by this population some of which are listed above so you will understand the opportunities to successfully engage with these prisoners is very challenging.
This is the remand hall in Edinburgh, those committed by the courts awaiting trial or sentence. 181 spaces.Those on remand are not required by law to participate in programmes or education or work, so often all they want to do is PE, exercise and visits.This represents almost 30% of the population who are excluded or exclude themselves from the opportunity for learning.
All cells within the remand hall are double cells requiring prisoner to share.
Ingliston holds 172 long and short term sex offenders who have to be managed completely separately from the other mainstream population. This presents limitations on integration in work parties and education and access to the library. This population is generally more mature and more manipulative and requests acces to learning materials more than any other element of the population.It holds a further 176 prisoners who are long term prisoners doing 4 years to life sentences. This group has more long term learning needs than perhaps any other, and the best opportunity for enhanced learning.
This shows one of the flats that will hose 88 prisoners with 44 on each side in a mixture of single and double cells. All of the halls have communal eating areas in the hall.One by-product of the redevelopment is that space has increased and staffing has been made more efficient and some prisoners feel more lonely that perhaps the older and smaller halls provided for.
This is a typical modern double cell in Edinburgh, a desk with shelves a chair each, a double bunk and wash hand basin and toilet are in each cell. All prisoners have access to television in-cell and a radio and dvd player.This looks comfortable and is not disimlar to university student digs, I would remind you that some prisoner however, will spend life sentences in these surroundings.
I have an annual contract with the director of prisons to provide a service level agreement which stipulates the services I should be providing to prisoners. This includes offender behavioural programmes but also offender development hours which includes physical education, work opportunities within the prison and education provision.This shows the annual work delivery target in hours for this year of 200000hours of work this year. We are delivering just below that target this year and expect to deliver about 190000 hours. Work in the prison context means vocational training in construction skills such as painting, decorating, brick laying, tiling, woodwork, plumbing, laundry, catering, etc. Every work place has accredited vocational training attached to it.This represents 172 hours of work per prisoner per year.Compare this to Physical education..
We were projecting a delivery schedule of 140000 hours of PE activity across the prison for this year. By the end of January 2010, we have already delivered 165000 hours We fully expect to exceed 200000 hours by the end of the year. Prisoners clearly enjoy physical training i.e attending the gym, football, indoor tennis, basketball than they do going to work!.This represents 194 hours of PE per prisoner per year.I show you this to illustrate the fact that prisoners actually enjoy spending their time doing work or going to PE as these are socially acceptable within the prison community. Compare this now to the levels of education participation across the prison...
This slide shows you that our projected targets for both 2008/09 and 2009/10 are likely to be missed. We expect to deliver around 28000 hours of education this year. Compare this to 190K hours of work, 200K hours of PE and you will see the task.This represents only 26 hours per prisoner per year !!A completely different challenge.
Why is this?There is the issue of motivating a population that is held captive in a place they don’t want to be. Many opted out of education early leaving school with no qualifications as early as they could. They have not had positive role models in learning or in the home environment. Often they are anti-authority and will not engage because that would be seen as cooperation. More interestingly, many see the stigma of going to education as taking the soft option and do not want to be seen to be needing it.And allied to this are the multitude of physical and mental health needs the population has.
Sample was 872 medical case files taken in November last year.Of 873 only 33% or 287 prisoners had no diagnosis, so 585 had some physical or mental health issue which affects their ability or motivation to learn.
Around the same time a member of my staff did a survey of prisoners which produced a response rate of 13% of the population on their attitudes to learning and the outcomes are interesting:Prisoners prefer to ask for help with addictions than for help with literacy.Average school leaving age was 15 and the average age of respondents was 35 – that’s a learning gap of 20 years and more than half said they would like to improve their literacy and numeracy.
OK, I hope that puts the setting into context for you, where does our library fit into this picture?The start of the process was our community partnership with the local authority of Edinburgh City Council and a recognition that our existing facilities were poor and under utilised. Through community partners we met with City Libraries and the concept of a new design was discussed that would take account of the location and the customers who would use it – so from early on it involved the prisoners in the design concept.Location is important too, prisoners are not just allowed to pop in when they want, so we had to maximise the opportunities for them to visit and take account of existing prisoner movements when choosing the location. I have a short film which I would like to show you the concept and the team who helped put it together...
The library opened in November 2008 and we celebrated a year of activities in November last year which saw 12000 visits through the library door in that calendar year. We have had a further 3000 visits in the intervening period.This is new space that is designed to take prisoners minds off being in prison, every prisoner has 45 minutes access to the library every week and is allowed to take 4 books, 1 DVD and 1 Game away per week.Stock includes multimedia material for foreign nationals as well as magazines and there are three prisoner staff who run the library under the close eye of our full time librarian Kat King who you saw on the film.
Some of the literary events we have held includeReading Stars – a family reading event that involved local football stars from the Scottish League, prisoners and their sons or daughters to promote literacy.Robbie Burns in January and the Scotland Homecoming Event 2009 ran as a theme all last year.Sport in Question – prompted prisoners to research questions and pose them to local football club players.Family Storytelling – in partnership with Scottish Book Trust with 16 prisoners and their families involved in drawing, storytelling and creating their own stories.
A very happy family having completed the Reading Stars initiative as a family.
Kate King has trained 10 prisoners as library assistants in this time and you will have heard some of them on the film. Peer group tutoring is an important element and creates responsibility and ownership amongst the prisoner group and they are rightly protective of their stock of books and media.It is interesting to note the is a 0% damage and non-return rate, clearly for the population – we know where they live. Seriously, the value prisoners place upon the service is testament to this.Half of the convicted population are members and there are 150 staff members too, including the Governor.
Past members of the library team who have now been liberated. We had one former offender apply for a library post in the City, which is testament at least to the skills he gained that he would have the confidence to apply. For such a role.
So why go to all this trouble?Prisoners are traditionally socially excluded and therefore hard to reach. The majority have opted out of their learning at an early age and see education as a representation of authority or maybe as a reflection of a difficult childhood and have taken other choices.The stark reality is that these prisoners will return to the communities that they came from and they may have never taken an opportunity to learn, if we can spark that interest by providing at least a picture of learning as they experience in our library, they might be compelled to follow it up in the community.We are looking at stitching any opportunity for learning, any particular interest prisoners might have – to hook them into learning. If we are successful then it gives them an opportunity to make different decisions when they are liberated.
I need not tell this august group of library professionals that libraries are bright , interesting , fun and informative places to be. We have tried to make ours non-threatening, inclusive and welcoming in the hope that their experience in prison will prompt their exploration into learning in the community. With some 15000 visits through our library doors in the last fifteen months, prisoners are starting to discover that.We are nothing without our community partners and I am very grateful to Edinburgh City Libraries for their continued support and enthusiasm in our efforts. I thank you for your attention and would like to leave you with one final thought.We asked for testimonials from prisoners who use the service and a message written in pencil on a torn piece of paper on the wall as you enter the library reads: I think the library is brilliant and I wish I could go there every day. Ladies and gentlemen, thankyou.
EDUCATION SURVEY<br />From a sample of 13% population:<br />24% embarrassed to ask for literacy help<br />17% embarrassed to ask for addictions help<br />Average age leaving education – 15<br />Average age of respondents – 35<br />55% would like to improve literacy/ numeracy<br />
Prison LIBRARY (1)<br />Community Partnership – Edinburgh City Libraries<br />New design<br />New location<br />New opportunities to attend<br />Prisoners run the library...FILM -><br />
Why? – Hooks To LEARNING<br />Manage an acute socially excluded population<br />Limited learning history<br />They will return to community<br />Integrated opportunities for learning across all our services<br />
CONCLUSION<br />Libraries are :-<br />Bright <br />Interesting<br />Fun<br />Multi-media<br />Relaxing<br />Prisoners are just discovering that....<br />
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