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Report on Reading Dads Promotion at Leicester Prison

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Report on Reading Dads Promotion at Leicester Prison 10th - 21st July 2006 Contents Page Number 3. Introduction 4. The Activities 5. The Delivery Areas 6. Session Evaluation and Feedback 8. General Observations 8. Conclusion Introduction During July, HMP Leicester, HMYOI Glen Parva and Leicestershire County Council and other agencies worked together to encourage prisoners to read with their children by running a fortnight of events aimed at helping raising awareness of the importance of reading to Children. Many of the prisoners were not read to when they were children; which means they do not understand the pleasure a child can gain from having a story read to them, this pleasure can help the child to develop a reading habit which remains with them for life. Reading is a fundamental activity which helps build skills and also enriches the relationship between parent and child. It can be difficult for Prisoners to maintain a relationship with their child when they are in prison. It is hoped that this fortnight will help to improve the prisoner's confidence when dealing with their children. Staff will be giving the prisoners children Book Start packs when they come to visit. These packs contain books, crayons and colouring book. The Book Start packs are intended to give the child a head start with their reading. ...read more.


Participation is by application only and applicants are screened by staff who work solely on this unit. The course is highly intensive and involves group and one-to-one sessions and activities. Prisoners are segregated from main prison population and each group tends to form strong and supportive bonds. Depending on the group dynamic this can be an interesting and stimulating area of the prison in which to work. Session Evaluation and Feedback At the end of each session, the participants were asked to fill in a simple feedback form. Whilst they are happy to circle :):|:( icons to indicate their feelings, few will actually answer direct questions relating to the session and rarely contribute suggestions for improvement. K'nex Challenge - this two hour session was run in Learning and Skills centre with a mixed ability group of 15 prisoners. The group worked really well and showed impressive team working skills. More impressively, these skills were activated naturally in the course of the task. Feedback forms indicated that all participants really enjoyed building with the K'nex and the competitive element. They didn't seem to enjoy the reading and healthy eating activities. Overall the general consensus seemed to be that they would have enjoyed more K'nex activities and would also have liked the session to be longer. Some verbal feedback indicated that several participants felt slightly patronised by the session leader but this was only a minor issue. ...read more.


In future, it would be beneficial to start all sessions with a simple ice-breaker to relax the group and take pressure off individuals who feel uncomfortable. However if time is an issue and sessions are to be a specified length this may compromise the session content. All feedback forms from sessions run on the Detox unit say that the worst thing about the session is being on the Detox unit. Whilst this is inevitable, we might like to look at ways of making the group more relaxed in future. Most sessions would have benefited from having summary handouts for prisoners to take away with them at the end of the session. There was also a trend which indicates that prisoners would like some sessions which are tailored towards older children. Conclusion The Reading Dads promotion was a great success and has helped us to identify an area of interest amongst prisoners. By promoting family leaning we hope to be able to improve prisoners' skill levels and also encourage better relationships with their families. Hopefully this, in turn, will contribute to lessen their chances of re-offending on release. This pilot project has given a valuable insight into the ways in which the Library can be involved in supporting the Learning and Skills agenda. Leicester Prison would like to thanks all those involved for their help and support and also the staff from various departments whose co-operation was invaluable. 1 ...read more.

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