Prison Officer Graham Holgate and Askham Grange Residents
It’s been 11 years since starting to take residents into the community. The impact it has made on me as a person is massive.
Lots of the days stand out and a lot of people have made a difference to people from all walks of life. We have visited OAP groups, professional business groups [retired] and Parkinson’s Help Group in the past. We have been lucky at HMP Askham Grange that we can reach all age groups from within their communities. All areas of society should have the chance to feel safe in their communities and understand everybody can make a mistake or get caught up in a bad situation.
The crime days in schools make a big difference to the people who are serving a sentence. They enter the prison system usually at a very low point in their life. Engaging with the public in schools and in local groups gives them chance to build up their self-esteem. I have taken people out that have no self-worth. Then to see them talking in front of 60 or so children telling their story and people understanding. It becomes the start of their recovery and the first steps to a new future before release.
The residents I have taken into the community totals over 400. Lots have said it feels like a form of counselling and gives them chance to open up. One person said it was the best offending behaviour work she had done while serving a long sentence.
I would like to thank everyone who has shared their stories and made a difference. We can all make a mistake in our lives but its how we recover and move forward. It’s about stopping the spiral of decline and finding a support network to help.
Prison me no way works in so many ways .When you think prisoners working with police, magistrates, fire service all trying to achieve the same end. Fantastic!!
Thank you to all the people that have trusted me enough to tell their story. Thank you to PMNW for giving us a platform for people to be heard and make a difference. Thanks to HMP Askham Grange for putting up with me going on about what we are achieving.
P.M.N.W, is an amazing opportunity for prisoners to get involved in. As for myself words cannot describe how much this has helped and changed me for the better.
Over 13 months ago, I had my very first taste of P.M.N.W and straight away I was hooked. The feelings and emotions blew me away. Sharing my story with so many children and adults felt so rewarding. All these people, in authority, teachers, fireman/women, police officers and magistrate. All of them sat and listened to me without passing judgement. It made me feel very humble.
With the help of all the crime days, I have had the pleasure of attending I now believe in myself, and I am still learning to stop blaming myself for what I put my partner and children through. With the help of P.M.N.W and their amazing team, I have found my voice and now I am able to ask for help if needed.
P.M.N.W has been the best form of therapy, as I can express my feelings and emotions with the staff and women whom I have shared this experience with. Graham, I would like to thank you for the opportunity you gave me as I wouldn’t be where I am now!
I carried a lot of worry and stress, I was always crying. But sharing all this with the crime days has released it all, so thank you so much.
I hope one day I will have the pleasure of being part of all this again, giving back is the best feeling in the world.
Sue – HMP Askham Grange Resident
I started going out to Prison Me No way with graham 12 months ago and never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would have ever been able to do something like this. I was not a very confident person before, so for myself I was way out of my comfort zone, but 12 months later I am so proud of myself for achieving as much as I have. My confidence has grown in a massive way knowing that what we all do through the P.M.N.W team is having such a massive positive impact on the school children, teachers and other professionals. I have never felt judged by anyone when I’ve been out on P.M.N.W, all the team are so genuine and they get it, for me that’s what it is all about.
I get so much out of going on the crime days and if telling my story can have an impact on just one child and they get to understand that anyone can end up in prison, that matters to me. Doing P.M.N.W is a great form of therapy for me, going out and telling my story and in doing that I can see where there were faults in my life/relationship. I feel that this has helped me realise where I went wrong. P.M.N.W is such an amazing project, seeing and hearing all the positives that come out of all our many sessions at the schools is fantastic, the support from the team is outstanding.
It has given me the chance to listen to the other resident’s stories who come out with us, enabling me to try to understand them and their crimes, which puts me in a better position to be there for them in a supportive role if I can do so. I always without fail get emotional doing the sessions but that’s because it is real and comes from the heart and they get to see that. We always get fantastic feedback when we go out and that feeling for me is indescribable. Graham and the team have been such an amazing pillar of support for all us girls that attend the sessions and without them I wouldn’t have found any of what I do possible. I would love the opportunity to be able to continue in some way with P.M.N.W once I am released from custody because it has had such an impact on myself and others and that for me is so rewarding, gaining a “huge positive” out of a negative situation that I unfortunately found myself in.
Kerry – HMP Askham Grange Resident