The Out for Good project was set up in memory of Andrew Fleming Williams, the Prison Reform Trust’s long standing treasurer, and a passionate advocate for prison reform.
Andrew believed in making prisons more effective establishments by helping prisoners to focus on acquiring job-related skills while in prison, in order to assist them “through the gate” on their release. He was also keen to explain the reality of prison life to an audience who had very little prior knowledge, or indeed interest in prisons.
Following Andrew’s untimely death, a group of his friends and family concluded that many more people should be encouraged to come and “see for themselves,” with the overarching aim of assisting in rehabilitation and resettlement and achieving positive practical outcomes. Thus “Out for Good” was born, and has now grown into practical reality with the employment of a project manager, Katie Pedder. Two pilot initiatives are currently underway, which reflect the two broad aims of the project:
- To deliver practical opportunities and outcomes for prisoners which make a measurable difference, particularly in the field of employment and training.
- To develop ways in which prisons can build sustainable local networks to support resettlement
Out for Good will lead a series of visits into various prisons, starting with HMP Brixton. We will target the visits primarily at those who are in a position to offer practical assistance and support to offenders – whether in prison or on release – for example by providing skills training, apprenticeships or employment. The aim is to break the cycle of reoffending by helping prisoners to take personal responsibility and to resettle in their communities. These visits will be organised in conjunction with the prison governor and we hope that visitors will have the opportunity to learn from prisoners and staff about the challenges prisoners face in order to stay out for good. We also hope that visitors will become advocates for change, creating a receptive environment in which such initiatives can be realised.
The Out for Good project manager will then work closely with visitors and the prison governor to follow up the visits and work out how to turn good ideas and offers of help into practical reality. The Brixton pilot will be reviewed and inform a series of Out for Good projects linking other prisons and prisoners more closely with their communities.Prison Friends Groups
We are also exploring the scope of prison friends groups as an additional way that members of the community can support their local prison. To this end we have conducted a national survey of prisons to see which already have effective prison friends groups and the different ways in which they operate. We will collate examples of good practice and plan to work with the governor of HMP Holloway to set up a prison friends group. The aim is then to generate interest in establishing such groups more widely across the prison estate.Support
Out for Good is steered by an advisory group chaired by Dame Ruth Runciman, vice-chair of the Prison Reform Trust. Members of the advisory group include Andrew Boys, founding chair, and Fiona Fleming Williams, Tina Clarfelt, Gerry Strahan, Peter Begg and Miles Templeman.
The advisory group is grateful to friends, supporters and family trusts for their kindness and generosity in supporting Out for Good. Further funds need to be raised to ensure that Out for Good makes a significant impact over three years. Those who wish to donate may do so by downloading this form.