Case Study of a RECOOP volunteer - Karen Bond
I am a mature student studying for a BSc (Hons) in Criminology with Criminal Justice Studies at Plymouth University. I work for BCHA as a relief Project Worker at George House in Plymouth, which is a 46 bed, first stage homeless hostel. I have worked in various social care settings for the past 12 years – mostly in the homeless sector – so when my supervisor at George House mentioned the work Liz Ropschitz was doing with older prisoners in the Devon prison cluster, I jumped at the chance to get involved.
I had already done a lot of work with young people who were homeless or vulnerably housed and had become interested in the particular problems that they face when attempting to resettle into the community on leaving prison. The work that RECOOP is doing focuses on the difficulties faced by prisoners aged 50 and over – an age group which I had not had a lot of experience of working with. My local prison is HMP Dartmoor – and Liz was just about to pilot a resettlement scheme there so I was drafted in to assist her with this. With my 12 years of knowledge of Plymouth and Devon networks, I was able to signpost prisoners who were to be released locally – and for those who were going further afield, I was able to research the facilities and support agencies which would be available to them locally. Using recorded dramas, which cover many of the issues facing prisoners on release, we were able to discuss hopes and fears and allay a lot of “urban myths” which are rife in the prison culture. Since the course finished we have focused on what was good, what they would like more of, training up “resettlers” within the prison to carry on the programme and mentor other prisoners, while also continuing RECOOP’s core work in Devon delivering mental wellbeing work with the older prisoners through physical and mental stimulation, and relaxation.
The subject matter for my dissertation is the particular problems which face sex offenders on their release into the community, bearing in mind the strength of public opinion against them. As a wide variety of this category of prisoner comes to HMP Dartmoor, I have been able to spend a lot of time talking to people I may not otherwise have been able to meet. While I have not been conducting one-to-one interviews with the prisoners due to security constraints, I have been privileged as they have been extremely open and honest with me. The feedback we have had from all the prisoners we have worked with demonstrates their overwhelming fear of “outside” and what is potentially waiting for them – and how ill-prepared they are for release.
Plymouth Law School Student Representative/RECOOP Volunteer
- We were delighted to be invited to The Langley House Trust’s carol service at The Knole in Cheltenham. Merry Christ… https://t.co/5XLyDRc0vA10:04am, Dec 20, 2018
- We are delighted to have been awarded a further 3-year contract to continue to provide Day Centre provision for the… https://t.co/yuoYzJKnlp9:15am, Dec 18, 2018
- Multi-faith Remembrance Service and tree planting ceremony held at HMP Dartmoor in conjunction with @RECOOP_UK and… https://t.co/Tj3kfPqad69:28am, Nov 27, 2018
- Skills learned by one man at the Lobster Pot (over 50s Day Centre at HMP Leyhill) have proved to be invaluable post… https://t.co/sKWYTbVchB11:17am, Nov 20, 2018
- Social care in prisons in England & Wales-A thematic report/Oct 18 recommends “any prisoner providing social care s… https://t.co/gnEl0BerHJ9:22am, Oct 24, 2018
- Aldo Trust grant helps support prisoners directly via RECOOP https://t.co/bwhiVuGPQQ9:10am, Oct 15, 2018
- RECOOP & @DevonCC nominated for Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice Award in recognition of their invaluable… https://t.co/B39v7N604A9:35am, Oct 01, 2018
- RECOOP wins Innovation Wessex funding to develop' Transition' Resettlement Training course for community delivery https://t.co/lpYxiDZeRz11:21am, Sep 25, 2018
- Rubies at HMP Eastwood Park win numerous @KoestlerTrust awards and selected to exhibit at #ImStillHere Southbank ex… https://t.co/NlyCKiWPPG9:55am, Sep 17, 2018
- Healthy Eating & Living in Prison programme helps address the issues around poor food choices and lack of exercise… https://t.co/qRnkXFAxz812:10pm, Aug 15, 2018