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Praise for efforts to cut reoffending in North East

2013 NEPACS award winners

L>R Tom Batty (HMP Durham), Lindy Madgin-Ellison & Valerie Docherty (both of Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust), Ron Hogg, Rebecca Young (HMP Low Newton) and Leanne Robinson (HMP Holme House)

Praise for efforts to cut reoffending in North East

Ron Hogg, Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham and Darlington, today (8 May), handed out the 2013 NEPACS awards to men and women who help to keep offenders from turning back to crime.

The awards, which are made by NEPACS, the Durham-based charity that runs facilities for visitors at prisons and young offender institutions in Durham, Frankland, Low Newton, Northumberland, Kirklevingto Grange, Holme House and Deerbolt, highlight individual effort or teamwork.

Jim Black, Chairman of NEPACS, said: “At a time when the country is looking closely at the effectiveness of prisons in cutting levels of re-offending, NEPACS is keen to give out awards for activities that help offenders build up links with their families, the workplace and the wider community that stop them getting back into crime. And we greatly welcome the support and input of Ron Hogg in presenting them."

Mr Hogg said:   “The work of NEPACS is based on volunteers who dedicate themselves to providing support for prisoners' families. Their work is vital in maintaining family links through the difficult period of a prisoners' sentence. It is shown that such efforts ease a prisoner's return to the community and reduces the likelihood of reoffending. I am pleased to be associated with NEPACS.”

Three of the 2013 winners work in the region’s prisons and two are from the Durham Tees Valley Probation Service. They are:

Tom Batty – for work in various roles as Industry Manager, Learning & Skills Manager and Gymnasium Manager at HMP Durham

Lindy Madgin-Ellison & Valerie Docherty  - probation officers with Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust, for community supervision in Durham City, Consett and Chester-le-Street

Leanne Robinson - senior pharmacy technician at HMP Holme House, Stockton, for work with offenders on Drug & Alcohol Recovery programmes

Rebecca Young - a pathway leader, HMP Low Newton, for raising awareness of issues relating to sex workers and supporting preparations for their release

(more details below)

The NEPACS good practice awards, which began in 2005, also include Highly Commended certificates. At this year’s event in Lumley Castle, Mr Hogg presented certificates to 13 individuals and representatives of teams.   (details below)

Further notes

1 NEPACS Awards winners for 2013

Tom Batty (HMP Durham) - Tom has worked for many years in Durham with the Reduced Reoffending Team, as Industry Manager, Learning & Skills Manager and Gymnasium Manager, where he has devoted enormous energy to getting prisoners motivated in work, learning new skills and getting and staying fit. As well as working directly with prisoners, in particular in healthy living, he has involved and motivated staff, and built up strong working relationships with outside agencies supporting offenders ‘through the gate’.   His most recent success was establishing a link whereby offenders on temporary licence have worked with the Cyrenians.

The judges wanted to acknowledge the enormous value of Tom’s energy, personal involvement and constant enthusiasm and its influence on so many prisoners over many years.

Lindy Madgin-Ellison & Valerie Docherty  - Both are long-serving probation officers working in Community Supervision Service with Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust (DTV) in Durham City, Consett and Chester-le-Street. They have worked for the last 18 months on the GALLANT Project, bringing together local help (housing, debt advice, careers service, Jobseekers, health, etc, along with negotiating premises for its use from the Salvation Army) for the project, which supports those on community supervision by using volunteers in an informal setting.

The judges felt that Community Service Management is sometimes forgotten as a vital part of reducing offending at an early stage, and applauds the new ideas and innovative approach of the Gallant Project which extends throughout the DTV area.

Leanne Robinson - Leanne is senior pharmacy technician for DART (Drug & Alcohol Recovery Team) services at Holme House, Stockton, where she has developed a number of initiatives to support prisoners undergoing treatment as well as supporting and training staff working with them. These include:

- Developing a data base monitoring and evaluation tool

- Developing a training package for staff

- Initiating a drop-in clinic

- Producing information leaflets and a reduction plan template for offenders leaving prison to ensure continuity of care

- Developing psychosocial group sessions to support individuals in their recovery plans

The judges were very impressed by Leanne’s innovative thinking and energy in the field of drug treatment, which has greatly advanced treatment inside prison and enhanced links between prison and the community on discharge.

Rebecca Young - Rebecca is the pathway leader for the Sex Work Pathway in HMP Low Newton, raising awareness of the issues of sex workers among staff and helping provide support for those women involved. Her work has:

- Identified key concerns via a research project, undertaken a needs analysis, and linked the prison to the UK Network of Sex Work Projects

- Delivered courses to staff and community and partners

- Introduced the Ugly Mugs scheme, whereby a list of potentially dangerous punters is maintained and made available for women returning to sex work

- Involved local sex worker projects to provide a service inside prison

- Contributed to a range of information, advice and support for Well Woman Days at Low Newton

The judges were impressed by Rebecca’s commitment and creative approach and are pleased to acknowledge her work over a number of years in this difficult and often misunderstood cause.

2. Highly Commended certificates

Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust nominations

Gemma Field for work on the accommodation needs of female offenders in Durham

Fiona Leigh for work on the accommodation needs of female offenders in Peterlee

Annette Liebig Approved Premises Senior Resident worker, for work with a particularly problematic sex offender

Justine Robson & Louise Barber Women’s Offender Champions at Stockton Office, for work developing women’s services

Holme House nominations

Paula Lane  Hartlepool Community Safety Team, for her work in the Team Around the House initiative

Sandra Jowers & the catering team  for work with prisoners gaining NVQs inside the kitchen

The Laundry Team for work with a pilot scheme for prisoners to provide an outside laundry service

HMP Kirklevington Grange nominations

John Croft Maintenance Manager, both for his work with working prisoners and in maintaining facilities

Simon Russell  for his work in the Training and Employment Group, developing and maintaining community placements

HMP&YOI Low Newton nomination

Mary Lax  for her work as tutor for the Bridge Project, an induction programme for beginning learners

HMP Northumberland nomination

Lisa Douglas Booking Clerk, for her work as first contact and ambassador for the prison

Northumbria Probation Trust nomination

Jeremy Wheatley  Police Officer member of IOM team, for his work with prolific offenders and initiatives within the partnership

For further details about this press release, please contact Keith Seacroft on 0191 386 0511 or visit www.nepacs.co.uk.

Posted on Wednesday 8th May 2013
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