Work in prisons and with prison leavers

St Giles Trust has many years of experience providing support in prisons to prevent the likelihood of someone re-offending on release. We work in prisons across the UK delivering services within Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and other projects delivered independently of CRCs. Underpinning much of this work is our approach of training serving prisoners – so called Peer Advisors - to offer peer-led support and services to fellow prisoners through our Peer Advice Project.

The Peer Advice Project

The Peer Advice Project aims to meet the large demand for advice services amongst the prison population by using an under-utilised resource - serving prisoners themselves.

It trains serving prisoners to a Level 3 Advice and Guidance qualification and enables them to help other prisoners by gaining valuable practical experience as part of the vocational element of the course. It is an excellent way of improving the skills of serving prisoners and preparing them for employment upon release. Prisoners readily engage with the Peer Advisors as they are regarded as trusted, credible role models. This means they are able to reach some of the most excluded, hard-to-reach individuals who do not usually engage with statutory support and services.

Following its change of status to a Reform Prison, we are working in HMP Wandsworth to train men serving sentences in this prison to become Peer Advisors who can offer advice and guidance to their fellow inmates. The men we train typically help with resettlement issues such as accessing housing and employment support. Further information on this is available here.

St Giles Trust Cymru

We work in prisons across Wales in partnership with a number of other agencies as part of the CRC in this region. Our role within this CRC is to provide custody based support to prisoners through offering advice and guidance services, by training serving prisoners to become Peer Advisors provide this support. Click here for further information on this work.

St Giles Trust Yorkshire

We work in prisons across Yorkshire as part of the CRC in this region to provide custody based support to prisoners through offering advice and guidance service, by training serving prisoners training to become Peer Advisors. Click here for further information on this work.

St Giles Trust Eastern

We work in prisons across this region as part of two Sodexo-led CRCs responsible for providing rehabilitation support to serving prisoners and prison leavers through support on release from prison. Click here for more information on this work. This work is across Bedfordshire, Northants, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. It also extends to community-based support offering mentoring support to offender on community sentence or released from custody. It offers Through the Gate services to prison leavers from HMP Norwich, HMP Wayland, HMP Hollesley Bay and women leaving HMP Peterborough to meet their resettlement needs and aid successful transition into the community.

Our Ipswich-based Working Out team offers support to ex-offenders in the town to help them gain employment, education and training.

The Reducing Re-offending Partnership

St Giles Trust is working with Ingeus and CRI under the Reducing Re-offending Partnership (RRP) CRC to offer rehabilitation services across the Midlands. St Giles Trust’s role within the RRP is to offer prison-based resettlement support and training to serving prisoners who wish to qualify as Peer Advisors under our Peer Advice Project . Find out more information from the RRP’s website here.

Specialist work with women in prison and foreign national prisoners

Additional to the work in the Community Rehabilitation Companies, St Giles Trust offers independently funded work in prisons and in the community providing support to some of the most vulnerable, complex individuals whose needs are not always met through mainstream services. This important area of our work means that some of those who would otherwise fall through the gaps are provided with the specialist help they need.

Our Footsteps Project helps women prison leavers returning to London who have mental health issues and complex needs. Taking a multi-agency approach, Footsteps aims to stabilise their lives and help them resettle in the community. It works with women leaving HMPs Bronzefield, Downview and Send and also accepts referrals from some community-based partner agencies and London-based Community Mental Health teams. The nature of the support is driven by the needs of the client. It offers ‘meet at gate’ help to provide women with the practical support they need on their first day out and then works with them in the longer term to address underlying issues which might be driving their offending.

The needs of foreign national prisoners are often unmet. We offer our Peer Advisor Programme in prisons holding foreign national prisoners to provide specialist support. It trains up serving prisoners to help others adjust to life in the UK prison system and address some of the specific issues this group encounter during their time in custody.

Vocational Advice and Guidance training

We provide Level 3 Advice and Guidance training in HMP Send so the women can offer support to other women in the prison face to face and over the phone through a secure phone line to women in other prisons connected to the service. Not only does this help address the large need for support amongst women in prison it also gives vocational experience to the women providing the support. Many of them volunteer on our Peer Assist centre at Camberwell once they become eligible for Release on Temporary Licence and continue to gain new skills and experience in community-based setting.

Foreign national prisoners can experience high levels of trauma and isolation. Being held in custody in an unfamiliar country, lack of a passport and language difficulties can make life particularly harsh and increase the risk of getting into trouble due to genuine misunderstandings about the prison regime. We offer vocational training in HMP Downview training women to offer peer-based advice and guidance support to foreign national women prisoners to address the specific needs presented by this group of often vulnerable, trafficked women. Direct help is offered around issues such as accessing resettlement facilities, maintaining contact with families and children and adjusting to the UK prisons system. Similar work is also carried out with male foreign national prisoners at HMP Huntercombe which holds foreign national prisoners. We offer prisoners the opportunity to train as peer advisors who then offer support to others in prison on issues such as translating, advocacy, referrals to specialist services as needed.

HARP

Supported by St Mungo’s, HARP offers resettlement support to vulnerable prison leavers from HMPs Brixton and Wandsworth who are returning to London boroughs. It offers support across the wide and complex area of needs presented by the clients, typically housing, benefits and help accessing specialist services such as mental health and substance misuse support. Its aim is to help the clients stabilise their lives and reduce the likelihood of re-offending.