Capital funding has provided new portacabin accommodation for a project called KeepOut at HMP Coldingley.
KeepOut trains prison inmates to facilitate workshops with young people who are already within the youth justice system or identified at risk of offending.
They are transported to the prison and searched much as they would be if they had just been convicted to give them a sense of the humiliation of the process.
A series of exercises aims to gradually gain the trust and honesty of the participants. The inmates share parts of their own story, which often begin with petty crime at a young age and gradually reveal the serious crimes they are serving time for. The young people are encouraged to focus on what is positive in their lives set goals and carry out role plays so they can understand the impact of their actions on their victims. Finally the inmates use props to explain the extent of the lack of freedom in prison.
Inmates find the process, although painful and demanding, has helped them deal with aspects of their past as well as feel their life has worth again. Evidence is showing that young people who take part in the workshops are less likely to reoffend; the project seems to be win:win. The visit taught me more about the valuable work we are helping to support.