Prisons Awareness Course
We offer a three-session course to allow faith groups to explore what it means to welcome people leaving prison into their community.
We believe it will inspire and challenge you, whether you have any experience of this type of work or not. It will enable you as a faith community to examine your beliefs together and, through discussion and practical encounter, get to know the people who live in, work in and who will eventually be released from our prisons.
Each session is about 90 minutes long, and is delivered virtually by The Welcome Directory's hosting team. Session 1 allows you to explore your pre-existing ideas about prison and people who leave prison. Session 2 gives you the opportunity to engage in conversations with prison leavers and prison chaplains to explore the role of faith in the journey through the gates. Finally, Session 3 explores the rich benefits of engagement with faith communities, celebrating the power of connection, support and acceptance. It also offers insights into common concerns surrounding safe-guarding and expectations. We welcome you to explore the materials below for more details about these sessions.
If you'd like to express interest in participating in the course, please contact us today,
Prison Awareness Course
Before diving into the Prisons Awareness Course, you may enjoy taking the time to read through our participant workbook, or exploring our pre-course questionnaire (both linked below). These offer a snippet of the topics ahead, and allow you to reflect on your pre-conceived notions about welcoming prison leavers into your community. Download Start Here.
Session 1 - Beyond the prison gates
What do you think about people leaving prison? Many prisons stand enclosed behind a 25ft fence and unless it is an open prison, most prisoners are confined to often cramped cells for much of the time, hidden away from the general public; forgotten.
Many of our ideas about prisons and prisoners are learnt from movies or stories in newspapers; many of those views can be biased, outdated or unhelpful, particularly as we think about welcoming people who have spent time in prison into the heart of faith communities on the outside. Unless we have experienced it for ourselves, it can be hard to understand the consequences of a prison sentence and what support can make a difference.
This first session will introduce you to themes, ideas and information designed to lead you to a greater understanding of the issues surrounding imprisonment and release. We welcome you to begin reflecting on these themes now, through exploring the videos and resources on this page.
Session 2 - Faith in Prison
So what is a prison like? What happens when someone is released? Leaving prison and trying to settle in another community can be like standing at the foot of a cliff. Climbing up can be difficult and it is easy to fall! A guide and the right supports can make the climb easier.
This second session is usually based within a prison and hosted by people who belong to the various faith communities represented within the prison. These sessions are run from within the establishment by the prison chaplaincy team. The session worksheet will be provided by your hosts at the prison, however the notes below will help you prepare.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, we are currently facilitating virtual delivery of session 2, enabling you to hear from prison leavers and chaplains first-hand, whilst safely respecting coronavirus guidelines.
Session 3 - who we are
Faith communities can offer a spiritual home, a friendly community of steady and supportive relationships as well as appropriate practical assistance to people leaving prison.
This third session explores the connections between faith communities at their best and some of the aspects research has shown are important to help people leaving prison to build towards a new life that is free from crime.
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