In May 2016 the Justice Secretary at the time gave a speech at the Governing Governors’ Forum which was in line with the Government’s plans to reform the prison education system on making prisons work. He said:
“…We want individuals who leave prison to be changed characters – to be redeemed, to have rejected violence as a way of settling disputes, to have overcome the impulsiveness, weakness and lack of self-respect which drew them into crime in the first place, to have become assets contributing to society rather than liabilities who bring only costs…Critically, education should also help prisoners to acquire the social skills and virtues which will make them better fathers, better husbands and better brothers. Ensuring that prisoners can re-integrate into family life and maintain positive relationships is crucial to effective rehabilitation…”
This is exactly the programme that Criminon is engaged in, giving offenders a tool-box of social skills to aid their rehabilitation.
Official figures put the UK recidivism (reoffending) rate at over 80%: for each prisoner who stays out, four are convicted for another crime and return to prison. These figures clearly predict a ‘revolving door’ future for most prisoners which inevitably means eventual overcrowding and less funding for rehabilitation and education.
To help prevent this dwindling spiral, Criminon offers a series of courses designed to help prisoners with areas of their lives that they feel need attention or change. This could be anything from developing and improving communication skills to learning how to mentor others through the Criminon courses.
One of the key courses, Restoring Self-Respect (The Way To Happiness), is designed to assist the learner to affect changes in his or her behaviour. Special emphasis is placed on putting into practice new methods of approaching life rather than relying on past behaviour models that helped contribute to their imprisonment. The course aims to give the learner back a sense of self-esteem and confidence that he or she can use to make decisions that contribute to their rehabilitation.
If you are a supporter or a sponsor of our programme, we would like to thank you for your help and encourage you to increase your contribution to enable us to help more prisoners by giving them the knowledge they need to alter the course of their lives.
Here are some examples of what this means for learners who have been able to leave criminal impulses behind.
“This course has really opened my eyes to the mental health side of the effects of taking drugs, it’s also made me aware of the rehabilitation side of coming off drugs and the long term effects it can have on your system years later and this fact alone is a good reason to have a greater understanding of drug taking just so awareness can be created by yourself and others that you may be able to help. Drugs don’t just have an adverse effect on you whilst taking them but may years later even when you’re clean they can come back to haunt you, you must detox properly and follow the Criminon way.”
—D.H., HMP Dovegate
“The Learning Skills Course (LSC) was a useful entry level course for learning and teaching. I have since completed a Peer Mentoring Course and the PTLLS teaching course. The LSC method of word clearing is extremely useful and is a skill well learnt. I have become mindful of making sure people understand the words I use before moving on.”
—M.C., HMP Gartree
“The course gave me a clearer understanding of how to deal with people and also myself.”
“The course I did Personal Integrity has helped me in my positions I hold here at Featherstone which are violence reduction rep and equalities rep. The course gave me a clearer understanding of how to deal with people and also myself. I also found the course really interesting and gets you really thinking. I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this course and hopefully many more.”
—J.M., HMP Featherstone
“Completing the Way to Happiness Course has given me a sense of achievement, encouraged me to look at myself and my environment and has been a great source of debate. Thank you.”
—A.D., HMP Whatton