The prisons blog is changing

October 14, 2009 by
Filed under: Education Matters 

It has been a few weeks since I last wrote for which I apologise especially to the faithful few who read my blog regularly (hi mum).

As I mentioned back in June, the RSA is once again tackling the issue of drug and alcohol misuse and the public service/s that seek to address these ongoing challenges.  Building on the consummate work of the RSA Commission on Illegal Drugs, Communities and Public Policy, the new project seeks to explore the suitability of a user centred approach to reviewing and designing a service that meets the needs of those individuals using it.

“The User Centred Drug Services Project can form the foundation of action research into personalised services for drug users. Transformation of service users could be dramatic as they move from being passive to active, powerless to powerful, consumers to producers. Co-production is not just about service users being in control of choosing and purchasing services, but about producing their own solutions and generating social capital. Truly user centred services – and this project – have the potential to create holistic approaches which will address the socio-structural causes of problem drug use and tackle the multiple disadvantage experienced by drug users.”

This is an exciting new project that I am so pleased to be involved in and which at its heart is about understanding and building people’s capacities.  This mirrors much of what the Prison Learning Network found.  Finding out about what is working across the system, where the innovation began, continued and was sustained and where the possibilities for replicability lie.  Providing the tools and opportunities for individuals and communities is crucial; building capacity to be able to deal with the variety of pressures in people’s lives is central and as a public service, the CJS should be more considerate of their role as enablers.

On Monday (19th October) this blog will be renamed ‘Public Services’ so that we can widen the conversation to include the User Centred Drug Services Project as well as the Prison Learning Network and any others that might arise in the future.  I hope that you will continue to find it an interesting and useful engagement in the discussions around the issues and I look forward to your engagement in the conversation.

Comments

  • jose aguiar

    Hi, I’m one of the few that read the blog.

    I have been working in offender learning, prison education, for the last five years. I would like to learn a little bit more about your projects and give my contribution. Currenctly I’m working with LSIS-post 16 citizenship programme, delivering training to offender learning instititions and with The Anne Frank Trust, prison project.

    Best regards

    Jose

  • jose aguiar

    Hi, I’m one of the few that read the blog.

    I have been working in offender learning, prison education, for the last five years. I would like to learn a little bit more about your projects and give my contribution. Currenctly I’m working with LSIS-post 16 citizenship programme, delivering training to offender learning instititions and with The Anne Frank Trust, prison project.

    Best regards

    Jose

  • Jason Grant

    That is a real shame.

    If I had the time, I would consider putting myself forward to write on issues affecting prisoners and penal policy in this country.

    One of the reasons why this blog was not so successful is that many prisoners/ex-offenders may not even be aware that this service exists.

    I am currently voluntary with a small group of people to provide an informational service for ex-offenders and hopefully, if it works I will pitch the idea to you guys and maybe you could have me writing some blog posts about it.

    I personally feel that decision makers need to learn from the end users and those people caught up in the system would benefit from having an online dialogue with those decision makers.

    Or maybe I live in a dream world?

  • Jason Grant

    That is a real shame.

    If I had the time, I would consider putting myself forward to write on issues affecting prisoners and penal policy in this country.

    One of the reasons why this blog was not so successful is that many prisoners/ex-offenders may not even be aware that this service exists.

    I am currently voluntary with a small group of people to provide an informational service for ex-offenders and hopefully, if it works I will pitch the idea to you guys and maybe you could have me writing some blog posts about it.

    I personally feel that decision makers need to learn from the end users and those people caught up in the system would benefit from having an online dialogue with those decision makers.

    Or maybe I live in a dream world?

  • http://www.theRSA.org/ Rebeccada

    Thank you for Jose and Jason.

    I should have mentioned in my initial post that while the focus of this blog will be broadening it will continue to address issues related to the Prison Learning Network and criminal justice more widely. We just didn’t want to create yet another RSA blog when this one could cover the issues that the new User Centred Drug Services Project will also throw up and I suspect will overlap.

    Criminal justice is my particular area of interest and having just started an MA in criminology and criminal justice, the last thing that I would like to do is stop the conversations around these issues here. So keep your thoughts coming.

    In regards to your point Jason, about how decision makers need to learn from the end users, I couldn’t agree more. We are actually employing this approach with the new drugs project – have a look at the website and let me know your thoughts. We’re placing the ‘user’ at the heart of the project – they helped to design the questionnaire, they helped to survey other drug and alcohol users, they will help to design the route map to recovery and they will help us to sustain the change following the project. And thats becasue the user is the expert. Maybe not in terms of profession but certainly in terms of experience and in knowing what they need!

    In terms of finding out about our projects Jose, the best place to start is our website http://www.theRSA.org. And you can always contact me directly if you have further questions.

  • http://www.theRSA.org Rebeccada

    Thank you for Jose and Jason.

    I should have mentioned in my initial post that while the focus of this blog will be broadening it will continue to address issues related to the Prison Learning Network and criminal justice more widely. We just didn’t want to create yet another RSA blog when this one could cover the issues that the new User Centred Drug Services Project will also throw up and I suspect will overlap.

    Criminal justice is my particular area of interest and having just started an MA in criminology and criminal justice, the last thing that I would like to do is stop the conversations around these issues here. So keep your thoughts coming.

    In regards to your point Jason, about how decision makers need to learn from the end users, I couldn’t agree more. We are actually employing this approach with the new drugs project – have a look at the website and let me know your thoughts. We’re placing the ‘user’ at the heart of the project – they helped to design the questionnaire, they helped to survey other drug and alcohol users, they will help to design the route map to recovery and they will help us to sustain the change following the project. And thats becasue the user is the expert. Maybe not in terms of profession but certainly in terms of experience and in knowing what they need!

    In terms of finding out about our projects Jose, the best place to start is our website http://www.theRSA.org. And you can always contact me directly if you have further questions.