Jess Ziae thanks the staff and prisoners at HMP Hull for putting on a great event.
The PIPE at HMP Hull supports people convicted of sexual offences who have completed intensive therapy and/or interventions. The aim of the unit is to help individuals to consolidate learning and develop relationally, with a view to helping them progress through their sentence. There are often misconceptions about what a Progression PIPE is and what role it can play in someone’s pathway to rehabilitation, so we jumped at the chance to open our doors and share what we do.
We wanted to promote our service to people working across prisons, probation and criminal justice. I’m sure there are a large number of people in the prison population who would benefit from a Progression PIPE, but due to lack of awareness, often miss the opportunity.
Both staff and prisoners got together as a team and set up a committee in charge of putting together the day’s programme. The committee wanted to showcase what the PIPE offers, by providing opportunities for visitors to explore the different ways we help support the prisoner's development. Crucially, it was felt that most of the day should be delivered by the prisoners themselves, providing insight into their lived experiences (without providing offence details).
For example, we featured:
I’m pleased to say that feedback from attendees has been really positive:
“The event provided real insight into this valuable resource, illustrated by the testaments of the [prisoners].”
“...an interesting and inspiring event.”
“...offered real insight into how a PIPE can support prisoners... was definitely an experience I will recommend to colleagues.”
Whilst the open day was an opportunity to promote the unit’s incredible work, what the PIPE prisoners themselves took away from this event should not be overlooked.
It gave them an important opportunity to develop capabilities in organisation, budgeting, prioritisation, public speaking, and being in a group of unfamiliar people which are all important skills for the workplace therefore, reducing reoffending. These can all feel overwhelming to some, but with support, can also help to develop purpose, confidence, and positivity for the future:
Prisoner feedback includes:
“I felt emotional and it’s a big leap for me to talk in front of others, but it shows I’ve now got trust, thanks to PIPE. The support from others when I was struggling during my talk is what PIPE is all about.”
“I’ve experienced a lot while on the PIPE, but activities like the open day have helped me develop confidence, empathy, understanding, and listening skills - this place focuses you and helps you stay focused”.
“It was good to see so many people coming to see us and listen to us, and care about our experiences and the journey we have to go through”.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to the staff and prisoners on the unit, as this was a big undertaking which required a lot of planning and organisation. However, as you can see from the feedback from attendees and the prisoners on the unit, it was well worth it, and we look forward to holding similar events in the future.