MTW began their new Prison Links programme on Tuesday 9th September in Wheatfield Prison. The Programme is in two parts, Staff, Management and Services Training and also working with the Traveller inmates. The first two days were spent working with prison staff.
Our first two days helped Prison staff have the skills and knowledge to understand and communicate more effectively with Travellers. It included looking at their understanding of who Travellers are and their perceptions of where Travellers come from and how this informs how they interact with Travellers.
In October we begin working with the Prisoners directly. The main aim of this part of the training is to encourage Traveller inmates to use their time in the Prison System in a positive and productive way and also prepare them for leaving prison and also for living in the wider community, with an aim to prevent re-offending.
We will be with the checking in with prison staff over the next 9 months to see how our training has taken effect. Our prisoner and staff sessions run from September until March next year. The final months of the programme will see MTW working with the inmates to put together material for the prison library.
The staff involved in this project are Michael, Ellen, Sinead and Anne. This is the first time such a programme has been run in an Irish prison so we know its very important we do a good job!!