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In-cell Activity Packs - "keeping prisoners gainfully occupied"

Monday, March 12th 2018

In their report “Life in Prisons: Living Conditions (2017)”, HMIP reported that:

“Prisoners will sometimes spend a lot of time in their cells due to limited access to association or work; this may hinder their ability to cope with day-to-day prison life, leaving them vulnerable. It is therefore important that they have sufficient mental stimulation available to them during periods of lock-up – a lack of which can lead to prisoners experiencing”.

RECOOP has been working with older prisoners and ex-offenders for over ten years and recognises the importance of keeping active, not only physically, but mentally.  The stark reality is, with current pressures across the whole of the prison estate, or often through choice, prisoners are confined to cell more regularly and, with this in mind, an In-cell Activity Pack was developed, called “food for thought”.

We are now into our second year of production and prisons across the country are subscribing to receive their monthly copy.  The packs include quizzes, word searches, Sudoku, brain teasers, health information, poetry, fascinating facts about the world we live in and much more.

Feedback from Education at HMP Lewes highlights their value:

“My learners on HMP 3A (third age) are over 55.  We use parts of the packs in class sometimes to begin a debate - for example there was a fabulous article on bees that sparked a mini-project. Often learners will ask for the Sudoku or word searches. I regularly pass on the documents to two other tutors who work in Healthcare and on the Dependence Wing who say that their learners really enjoy the packs.

I find them to be to the point and difficult enough to provide interest and to stretch.  I use some of the Sudoku, word searches and the number puzzles from the packs to give out during MEAs- initial tests, when men first come into the prison and it takes the edge off the exams and keeps people gainfully occupied.”

Produced on a monthly basis, they are sent direct to those who subscribe via email so that printing and distribution, to as wide an audience as required, can be arranged well in advance of the beginning of each month.  The cost is £100 per issue, or £1000 for a year’s subscription.

If you would like to subscribe, or would like further information please contact info@recoop.org.uk.

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