Could the Internet help deliver health information to young people who have been through the prison system?

This intriguing paper from the US looks at whether the internet might be a good way of delivering health information to young people on release from prison.

Admittedly it is a small survey – only 79 people – but it suggests in that community at least that there are high levels of access to the internet outside of prison and that accessing health information online could be seen as a positive way of engaging with personal health information.

It would be interesting to think about whether the young people we’re working with in the Breaking Out project expect to have access to the internet once they leave Polmont, and whether an online service might be one of the ways we could support their health behaviours once they are released.

Any thoughts?

The Cake File- Part 3 “Thin Ice”

The project is now well under way and we have a team! Myself and Shona have recruited a second volunteer, Laura who has a wealth of youth work experience and (this is the best part) she has already worked in Polmont running group work sessions with an agency called Link Living.  As Mr Burns would say.. “excellent!”.

This takes us up to full compliment of two staff and two volunteers for the Breaking Out project.

Shona had the pleasure of meeting some of the staff team this month as  Liam and Hillary  paid us a visit. She also had a meeting with Sir Jack, out at Dundas Castle “nice place for a murder mystery weekend” was her initial comment.

We were really busy meeting with various stakeholders in the prison this month, we seem to have the youth work team on board, they have offered us one of their PC’s which means (if it comes off) we may not have to hot-desk. This would be a solution to one of the major problems we have.

Shona has also managed to blag us access to keys (despite SPS telling us we wouldn’t need them) and we are almost in possession of name badges, fobs and id badges. These are the little things that basically mean we can swan about in the prison like we own the place, rather than looking like timid visitors. I particularly like my new belt and unfeasibly long key chain, very fetching!  Shona also convinced our man on the inside that we both need access to the PR2 record system. Again another potential major hurdle overcome.

Shona and I have completed our Dynamic Youth Award training and we have registered with Barnardo’s and Youth Scotland. This means we can officially use the awards as part of our programme.

Most of our time has been introductions and relationship building, and so far so good. We have both made some important contacts.

We have been looking at ways to promote the project, especially to the guys themselves. Our current plan is to use rubber wrist bands. One colour for attending a taster session, another for joining the programme, glow-in-the-dark for those who take part in a peer ed session and black for members of the development group. Cheap and a great way of getting our “Brand” known. We have met with no actual resistance to this idea so far, we have one final gatekeeper to seek approval from before we actually speak to the young offenders themselves. Most people think its a great idea as anything that provides a bit of identity seems to be of value inside.

At the moment we are trying to get the actual programme resources sorted out so we can do some pilot and consultation work. Any tips on alcohol resources that cover, health, sexual health, risk taking behaviour and harm reduction would be useful if any of you know of any. We are also trying to get together a bumper book of ice breakers and energisers. We will need a wealth of time fillers up our sleeves, so again get your thinking caps on and send us any you know of. Ways of getting these by way of social networks or through the website would be useful too. I had a wee dabble on twitter today but alas, I only have 13 followers so I don’t hold much hope. Next step will be e-mailing all my contacts. So, suggestions on a postcard please.

Shona and I plan to be pretty much moved into Polmont by the beginning of next month, so I plan to soak up as much sun as possible before then…. oh dear.

Hard Time- Part One of the Cake File

The passing of time in prison is a strange phenomena, all the time that hangs on the inmates must create a strange time/space/continuum ripple that in turn effects all those people who work in prison.  If you set up a meeting by phone or e-mail, often this agreement is completely forgotten by those inside. Sometimes they will remember to meet you but will turn up late and have forgotten your name. Getting anything done is also effected by what I have begun to refer to as “Slow Time”. Everything takes longer to get done for no apparent reason. Is it that workers in prison are just so busy they cant effectively manage their time? is it that the channels of communication are also effected by “slow time”?

Perhaps its just a way of life that people fall into, a bit like moving to Provence?

Baffling to me, but then I’m still on the outside looking in. I will however become “one of them” from the 1st of June 2012, so keep an eye on me. If I start to slow down almost to the point of coma… well, it will be too late, I will already have become one of them!

(just playing with the tools to find my way around)