Yellow Ribbon and Covid-19

Yellow Ribbon and Covid-19

An interview with Andy Partridge – Head of Operations at Yellow Ribbon There can be no downplaying the impact that the Coronavirus has had on everyone the world over right now. The news is often filled with reports of how peoples lives, their businesses and ways of working have been massively impacted by the restrictions needed to help control spread of the pandemic. I asked have asked Andy Partridge, Head of operations here at Yellow Ribbon a few questions to give a little insight into the challenges and changes we have faced during this period. ‘From your perspective as Head of operations Andy, what has been the biggest challenge of Covid-19 for the charity?‘ “No eye contact with clients has been the biggest challenge. You get so much out of a conversation with eye contact and being able to read body language.” And from conversations with other team members and keyworkers this has been a point which has been echoed  frequently.  Our mentoring system involves working closely with the clients. Building trust and improving their levels of confidence in honest communication is a vital part of the recovery and support process. Although we have worked hard to remain in close […]

Criteria for ECTR defined

Criteria for ECTR defined

As we have mentioned in several news items, there are plans to release early some prisoners who are near to the end of their sentence to assist in reducing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the prison system. To date there has been a very limited number of prisoners who have actually been released under this scheme, and this is perhaps due to in part to the fairly complex criteria involved in assessing those eligible for release. Pact (the Prison Advice and Care Trust) – a charity that provides support to prisoners, people with convictions, and their families. has published a fairly comprehensive outline of the criteria for ECTR which answers the following questions: Are people in prison being released early? Who cannot be released early? Who can be released early? What about the release of children and young people? Is there anything else to consider? Who decides who might be suitable for release? If a prisoner meets all these standards, do they get automatically released? How will prisoners find out about their release? Is End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR) the same across all prisons? What are the conditions of End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR)? How will […]

Self-help book distributed free in prisons.

Self-help book distributed free in prisons.

Inside time the prison magazine reports : With prisoners across the UK locked up in their cells, a lot of books will be read. And one book, in particular, is proving popular – because prisons are bulk-buying it to hand out free on the wings. Unconscious Incarceration is a self-help book that encourages the reader to examine their selfish habits, make a change and turn their life around. inside time : https://insidetime.org/self-help-book-handed-out-in-jails/ The book itself is based on the Dickens book A Christmas Carol, and features a heroin addict who receives three visitors who force him to stop and re-examine his past life, and to look at building a new brighter future for himself. We are sure that there will be inmates who perhaps do take the message this book hold to heart, and will draw from it to start taking the positive steps needed to turn their lives around. We know this to be the case, because those are the people we help every single day here at YR. People who want to turn their lives around, people who understand how their lives have gone wrong and want to begin to do something positive. 1+

Latest Coronavirus news from within the prison system.

Latest Coronavirus news from within the prison system.

A second death attributed to Coronavirus at HMP Littlehey confirms that prisons with an older population are at significant risk. The BBC news site today confirms a third prisoner death, with two of those three deaths at the same prison – HMP Littlehey in Cambridge. Although the deaths are indicated as being in older inmates – described as having underlying health problems, it is clear that with figures from several days back showing 65 inmates had tested positive, that coronavirus can find its way pretty much everywhere. Lawyer Simon Creighton, who has inmates among his clients, told BBC Newsnight that prison was a very unsafe environment: “If you think about how cruise ships have been seen as Petri dishes, prisons are about 1,000 times worse,” he said on Wednesday. “Some of the contact I’ve had with prisoners over the last week has been terrifying.” BBC : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-52137109 And Chair of the Prison Officers Association – Mark Fairhurst says that the virus : “does not discriminate”. And goes on to say: “The two deaths at Littlehey demonstrate that an ageing prison population that have underlying health conditions are more at risk,” BBC : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-52137109 This is indeed a worrying situation – […]

Prisons in England and Wales on ‘immediate lockdown’

Prisons in England and Wales on ‘immediate lockdown’

ITV news reports that Prisons in England and Wales on ‘immediate lockdown’ following latest coronavirus measures. The report comments : “Prisons in England and Wales have been put on “immediate lockdown” with all visits cancelled. The Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service said the measure was to “ensure the safe and secure functioning of our prisons, while enforcing social distancing.” It follows the Government’s strengthening of stay-at-home measures, announced in an address to the nation by the Prime Minister on Monday night. HMP Birmingham, HMP High Down, HMP Manchester, and HMP Oakwood all have one confirmed case of coronavirus.” ITV News Both HMP Birmingham and HMP Oakwood are two of frequently visited prisons as part of our chaplaincy and through-the-gate schemes. It present it is unclear exactly what the full implications of this will be, but we at Yellow Ribbon have a series of contingency plans ready to put into place to ensure we continue to support those still in prison, those being released, and the clients we have in our community based houses – in whatever way we can which meets the current government guidelines. 1+

Keep Calm – and wash your hands!

Keep Calm – and wash your hands!

Today Inside Time – the magazine for prisoners and their families reports that at present prisons will stick with normal regimes as long as possible. Inside Time published an article today which comments : “Jails will stick with normal regimes and visits “for as long as possible” in the face of the coronavirus epidemic, the Government has said. Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer QC MP said there was “a huge amount of work taking place” to plan for the impact of COVID-19. She said the top priority was the safety and wellbeing of staff, prisoners and visitors. The attempt to carry on as normal comes despite fears that prisons will be badly hit by the disease. Andrea Albutt, president of the Prison Governors’ Association, said it was likely that some prisoners would die.” Inside Time – https://insidetime.org/coronavirus-prisons-try-to-maintain-regimes/ The article goes on to quote a statement made by Lucy Frazer MP on March 12th : ” Prisons have existing, well-developed policies and procedures in place to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases. This means prisons are well prepared to take immediate action whenever cases or suspected cases are identified, including isolating individuals where necessary. Basic hygiene is a key part of tackling the […]