Mary Dalgleish writes about PEP in HMP Thameside & shares inspirational poem written by an inmate...
[This article as first published on Peace Partners main blog on 19th November 2015]
For the past year I have had the privilege of being a part of a team of volunteer PEP facilitators at Thameside prison, a Category B establishment that holds around 1000 convicted and remand male prisoners. We have recently started our fifth PEP there and now have a team of 19 volunteers and interest in PEP is growing steadily. One of the sessions covers the topic of "CHOICE" and here Prem Rawat talks about seeds saying, "We are each given seeds. There is a seed of anger, but there is also a seed of kindness. There is a seed of doubt, but there is also a seed of understanding. How restful it will be in your garden of life depends on what kind of seeds you sow.”
One of the prisoners was deeply touched by this session and inspired to write the following poem, which he gave me permission to freely share. He wants to be part of our team of facilitators so we hope that he can do that in the New Year.
[This article was originally featured on the Peace Partners main blog on 11th October 2015]
Mary Dalgleish who is part of a team of PEP volunteers says: " We have thoroughly enjoyed facilitating the Peace Education Programme at HMP Thameside and have felt very welcomed by staff and prisoners alike. We started with a team of 9 volunteers and to date we have completed 2 courses with remand prisoners. Feedback from attendees has been excellent and the prison authorities want to extend the programme to other prisoner groups. We have now recruited a further 10 volunteers and started our third course with remand prisoners and a further course with long term prisoners. Here are some quotes from course attendees:
“This course has formed an important part of my rehabilitation…I’ve realised that my life is not on hold – it’s just the things I can do in my life that are on hold.”
“I’ve lost my freedom, but I’m finding my identity. So pleased I chanced upon this programme; it has and will continue to inspire my growth and those around me; I hope to sow new seeds of hope and clarity. I never really took the time to look within – I wish I did – life WAS confusion.”
“What I liked most about the Peace Education Programme was the encouragement to never give up your hope.”
As Michael Gove is looking to transform the criminal justice debate in Britain, just as Right-wing politicians have done in America, this could be a good time for PEP to expand its' work throughout the UK.
‘We’ve got to have space for fresh thinking,’ he replied carefully. ‘How can we take that essence and ensure that when individuals are in court, there is a teachable moment that they recognise they’ve done wrong – and if custody may not be the answer for them, that there are other things we can do?’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3267742/Has-depraved-Texan-gangster-convinced-Gove-jails-extraordinary-encounter-UK-s-Justice-Secretary-reformed-hoodlum-revolutionise-penal-policy-let-criminals-streets.html#ixzz3oFOhN92r