Irish Chaplaincy to launch Resettlement Project for Travellers in London prisons
Aware of the particular difficulties facing Travellers in prison, the Irish Chaplaincy is soon to launch a Training and Resettlement Project for Travellers in selected London prisons. The aim of the project is to engage Travellers in suitable training, education and work experience whilst in prison and then to provide post-release employment in Irish construction firms (alongside other options).
A complete ‘through the gate’ service will be provided by a Resettlement Caseworker, and there will be signposting to other services where needed.
The Irish Chaplaincy will be building upon its current work with Travellers in prison, having begun in 2005 its Traveller Equality Project which has done much to improve the situation of a still very discriminated against minority in the criminal justice system. Our work has led, for example, to Travellers being recognized as a distinct ethnic group in the prison estate and to more Travellers coming forward as Traveller or Equalities reps.
One of the important aspects of the Resettlement Project will be identifying a peer mentor in each of the prisons, somebody who will publicise the project amongst the Traveller community and help to find and encourage people to join the programme.
We have been working to develop relationships with the relevant prison departments such as Reducing Re-offending and Education in order to get referrals of potential candidates and establish what training is available before release from prison. We have also been working to establish links with organisations on the outside who can support candidates post release with a range of issues, including accommodation and employment.
We aim to provide a circle of support at the Irish Chaplaincy, as we recognise the need for positive mental health and emotional resilience. If applicable we will work with probation staff and other groups in the community the men may be liaising with such as mental health workers or GP’s. The aim is ultimately to support the men to a meaningful, independent life away from prison.
By the Irish Chaplaincy