Peer support in a prison context refers to a wide range of activities where prisoners assist other prisoners. It can be a preferred source of support over professional support from prison staff, psychologists, counsellors, doctors, social services, or probation. There are many potential benefits to peer support including: helping new prisoners adjust to prison life, reducing isolation, positive role-modelling, and promoting healthy lifestyles. Becoming a peer supporter can also have a positive effect on prisoners, by enhancing confidence and self-esteem, improving communication/organisational skills and behaviour, generating a positive self-image, increasing levels of independence, and gaining trust.
While peer support schemes can be beneficial to the peer supporters and the prisoners they support, there are risks associated with peer support schemes.
In this networking event, we will discuss what makes a successful peer support scheme. We will consider the challenges; how to recruit, train and support peer supporters, and help people to move on from peer roles through the gate into paid employment. We will also include a discussion on a recently published review and best practice guidance on peer support schemes in prison.
You will also hear from: Shannon Trust on the difference peer Mentors make to their Learners and what by prisoners for prisoners means now and what it might mean in the future; and St Giles Trust about setting up peer support programmes in prisons, the benefits and challenges and what happens beyond the gate.
The network is aimed at practitioners looking to begin or improve the way they engage their service users.
Lunch will be provided from 1pm.