The Traveller Prison Links Programme came to an end in May. We handed out of certificates and celebrated the achievements of the group who together created a booklet called ‘I am a Traveller in Prison’ a book of short stories written by the inmates about their first day in Prison. This booklet will give readers an insight into life in Prison and also it might put off someone at risk, who might end up in Prison.
The inmates enjoyed sharing their stories and they were very honest about their fears at the time. The stories aren’t all doom and gloom though, some would make you laugh too. The booklet will be available to all Traveller organisations and Community Based Foroige projects like NYPD Navan Young Peoples Development Project in Navan.
The booklet will also be available in Navan Library and the Prison Library’s to give Travellers something culturally attractive and of interest to them to read and maybe practice their reading skills? Sadly, there is very little reading material available about Travellers. We are hopefully providing not only an enjoyable book, but also one which might prevent other Travellers, and non-Travellers too, ending up inside Prison.
Our final two sessions were with Staff, Management and Services inside Wheatfield. The people who joined us for these sessions see the importance of better culture awareness and there being more help available to Travellers inside and outside the Prison. We will be working with the National Traveller Prison Initiative TPI and the Probation service to hopefully get our Programme repeated all over Ireland and to highlight some of the issues that we have come across during our time in Prison, at least we get to go home each day!
The report for our first year of the pilot programme was described by our funders St Stephens Green Trust as, “the report is one of the best I’ve ever received here not just in terms of the very positive outcomes but your approach to the report” We are delighted that we will be getting our second year of funding and will be back inside Wheatfield Place of Detention in September. Well done team MTW!!