Prison Officer, HMP Pentonville
After The Conversation, two of the officers who sat at the back of the room were talking to two of the prisoners who were also there. I pointed it out to my colleague, and said, you wouldn’t have had that before the workshop. It was nice to have people looking at things from a different perspective — rather than ‘us versus them’.
It was nice for staff to experience what prisoners go through, and understand why prisoners sometimes react in certain ways. Prisoners could understand where we come from, and how our day is so time-bound. It was good to see some of my colleagues who were quite staunch, who didn’t want to do it, and they could see the good things that come out of it.
Some of my colleagues have just taken a step back and changed their ways. We all learnt together, and it’s given us common ground. I think everyone got something from that. We haven’t had issues with any of the prisoners who attended since, they definitely took something away from it and are displaying the skills they learnt from it.
The whole thing — it was about trying to find out people’s frustrations. At least staff can look and think, you know what he’s actually right, and maybe if I was in that situation I would probably react in that way.
It was about staff understanding people’s frustrations, rather than just dismissing them.