At the beginning of July 2019, the Derbyshire Criminal Justice Board met at HMP Foston Hall at the invitation of the Governor, Andrea Black. This is the local women’s prison. As a member of the Board, Derby crime solicitor Nick Wright was invited too.
The tour of HMP Foston Hall showed the rehabilitative facilities provided for the 400 or so inmates. While prisoners remain just that, prisoners, the prison ethos is that the fact of being there is the punishment.
As a result, great efforts are made to help help rehabilitate offenders. Prisoners are given the opportunity to work, encouraged by the ability to earn a small wage to be spent in the prison.
They grow vegetables for use in the kitchens, the quality of some of the vegetable beds rivalling anything at Chatsworth House or on Gardeners World.
Alternatively, prisoners are able to work in a facility producing garments for use in the prison system. This provides them with a skill which can be used to gain employment on release with the training that is provided.
HMP Foston Hall also works with the RSPCA. As a result there are many animals cared for by prisoners. These include donkeys, guinea pigs, hamsters and lots of different varieties of birds. Animals do not know or judge those who care for them. Offenders are given the opportunity to care for something and receive positive feedback in return.
The board also had a presentation from a transgender inmate who was fully transgender. She was very erudite and helped the heads of organisations present gain a much better understanding of the issues involve with LGBT+ people, particularly when prisoners.
Finally, the most trusted inmates have the use of a specially converted house used for family visits for up to six people. Visits here can last for up to six hours. Visitors also have access to a coffee shop, ‘Fosta Coffee’.
Nick was impressed with the work that was being done towards rehabilitation at HMP Foston Hall. While we will continue to try our best to avoid a prison sentence for our female clients who might otherwise end up at this prison, this information might assist them to know what to expect.
Contact our prison law department
Whatever the quality of the prison that an inmate is in, problems can always arise. We have a specialist prison law department. You can read more about it here.
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