|Haverigg Prison Independent Monitoring Board seeks volunteers to support inmates|
Mick Ross, chairman of Haverigg IMB, said ‘It’s certainly an edgier form of volunteering and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but those looking to take on a new challenge, then this could be for them.
‘There are few forms of voluntary service more unusual or more important and, although the work is often challenging, it is always rewarding.
‘I joined Haverigg IMB 7 years ago’, Mick went on to say,’ after my wife saw an article in the local magazine. I am an engineer and had just taken early retirement at the point, and was looking for a new challenge. You can help prisoners cope with their sentence and prepare for life after prison. If you can help resolve a prisoner’s problem, you can get a lot of satisfaction out of it – it gives you a real feel-good factor.'
The prison is on the site of an old RAF training centre and holds over 600 category C and D male prisoners. The Board monitors day-to-day prison life, such as food, healthcare, cleanliness, discipline, education and work training.
In its latest report on the prison, Haverigg IMB reports that despite great efforts by prison staff there is still widespread use of drugs and, in particular, the use of ‘Spice’ – an NPS , New Psychoactive Substance.
Despite this, the IMB’s recently released annual report claims that prisoners are well cared for and staff are committed and apply the highest standards.
As a training prison, one of the key aims of Haverigg is to equip prisoners with workplace skills upon release. Among its various workshops is the Haverigg Smokery which, Mr Ross claims, is very much a Haverigg success story.
“There is an ever increasing market for the products of HMP Haverigg’s award-winning Smokery which employs nine prisoners. Indeed demand for the numerous products of this somewhat avant garde, enterprising and quality driven department, continues to increase by the year,” he said.
Serving as an IMB member is recognised as a public duty and employers are obliged to allow reasonable time off.
You do not need any special qualifications or experience, and all the necessary training and support will be provided, but you must be open minded, caring, have effective communication skills and be good at working within the team.
Apply at www.imb.org.uk or call 0203 334 3265 for more information.