Guernsey offers prisoners voluntary placements
published on 7 Sep 2023
The Salvation Army in Guernsey is offering volunteering roles to prison inmates as part of a government initiative which aims to reduce the likelihood of prisoners reoffending.
Inmates from Les Nicolles Prison, Guernsey have spent time volunteering at The Salvation Army’s community centre and café in Nocq Road, St Sampson's, Guernsey, whether painting or decorating, providing general maintenance or using their skills in the kitchen, to help them develop and adjust to life of the outside before they are released.
The government of Guernsey have implemented the Three-tier scheme with the aim of preventing problems that ex-prisoners commonly face, such as finding employment or accommodation. Within this scheme The Salvation Army have provided multiple opportunities for those who take part to give back to the island through Stage Two of the programme, ‘voluntary placement in the community’. The voluntary placement is a vital step that inmates must complete before they are able to successfully graduate from the programme.
Jonathan Gallagher the community centre manager at The Salvation Army, St Sampsons, said: “We really do value our volunteers from Les Nicolles Prison and many of them come with a vast range of skills. We do our best to fill their time with meaningful activities that play to their skills, but also give them opportunities to try new things. Ultimately, they will want to get into paid work when they are released, so we do everything we can to help them prepare for this. Our involvement is to provide a safe, caring environment for them to rehabilitee into after spending time in the prison system.”
Regardless of their roles, when they first start all volunteers take some time to adjust to their new schedules but by the end of their placement, they are comfortable interacting with the members of the community centre.
Once their probation officers are satisfied that they have fulfilled their volunteering role and gained adequate experience, they can then progress to the final part of the scheme which is paid employment. This can be difficult for some ex-offenders, so some choose to stay on at their voluntary placement to keep developing their skills.
Guernsey Prison governor John DeCarteret said: “The scheme has been very successful. It provides prisoners with an effective resettlement strategy.” And the experience they gain through the voluntary and paid roles “gives them excellent preparation for the day they can go home.”
The Salvation Army in Guernsey have a community centre, charity shop and café in which they offer a variety of services such as low-cost meals. They also have a library where books and talking books can be borrowed and exchanged on a regular basis.
See their website for more information: https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/guernsey .