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Mentoring a prison governor – could you help?

Members of our Community of Practice may be interested in a unique opportunity to be a mentor or mentee in a new project to benefit prison governors and the people in their care.

Launched by the not-for-profit organisation Run for Your Life, the initiative invites senior leaders from different spheres to partner with a prison governor in a reciprocal coaching and mentoring programme.

It is a difficult time for prisons and there is an urgent need that you could help fill.

Mission
There are currently around 90,000 people – men, women, young people and children – behind bars in this country and most of them will be released. This means that some of them may be coming to a community near you.

So what do you want?
You want them to be playing by the same rules as you do. Which means prison also needs to be a place where people are offered a second chance and help they need to successfully rehabilitate to become a force for good back in their community. This is a tough mission and under Covid19 it just got tougher.

Problem
Prisons have been in lockdown since mid-March with men and women confined to cells for up to 23 hours a day. This strategy has been successful in keeping deaths from Covid19 much lower than Public Health England predicted but at a human health cost that is only now starting to emerge.

Prisons are only now starting to loosen some of their lockdown restrictions – while society in general is much further ahead – and the process for prisons is unlikely to happen in a straight line.

All networking and professional and personal development opportunities for prisons governors – the CEO – has stopped at a time when their already tough mission just got harder. Bringing their people – and the affected families – with them safely through and out of extraordinary measures into whatever a ‘new normal’ will be has potential to be a matter of life and death. Additional support has gone to front line staff and those serving sentences while governors have remained isolated. Meanwhile scrutiny and control from government has increased.

Prison Service culture is historically risk-averse, male-dominated and insular: Asking for help, thinking outside the
sector ‘box’ and taking charge of your own professional development is an exemption from the norm.

The time is now: Many in the sector believe that as prisons emerge for the first time from lockdown restrictions
that the hard work is only just beginning. Controlling infection of a high-risk population by isolation was simple and
effective – re-starting rehabilitation activities in a new controlled environment is a new and much bigger ask of the
people making the key decisions on the ground.

Solution
Run For Your Life have been refining an online led process that brings three prison governors together on Zoom for specific coaching-mentoring-training. The process has been designed to be deliberately different to anything previously available to them in-house – so as to facilitate breakthrough – and specific to the challenge of thinking and operating differently in order to lead their people and prison through the challenge of Covid19.

Our next level of development is Reciprocal Mentoring: Partner a prison governor with a senior leader from the corporate world and have them supporting and learning from each other on Zoom with us.

Scope
We started working with our first three governors in May – this grew by word of mouth to eight in July and we will add another two this month with four more waiting. There are 117 prisons in England and Wales.

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE CIC tel: 07799 063 115
COMPANY NUMBER 10727372 (Registered In England And Wales)
REGISTERED OFFICE: Springroyd, Clapham Road, Austwick, Lancaster, LA2 8BE

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Find Out More

What Is Run For Your Life?
RFYL CIC www.runforyourlife.org.uk is a not-for-profit business based in NW England founded by Andy Mouncey. It was set up specifically to work in the criminal justice system with people who are at risk of offending, in prison and recently released – and the staff who support them.
* Read about the prison work here
* Read about the work with prison governors here
* Read more about the challenges the sector is facing with Covid19 here

Who is Andy Mouncey?
Andy has been a professional coach, mentor and trainer since 2000 working with a wide range of clients across business, sport, education and everyday life: www.bigandscaryrunning.com
He is expert at helping his clients achieve big scary goals, enjoy the process and make the breakthrough stick.
He is an innovative thinker with a unique approach.
He is an author of three books, an award-winning inspirational speaker and record-setting endurance athlete who is still competing.
He is 53, married and lives with his family in the north of England.

What is on Offer?
This is a professional service: The fee paid by the corporate sector will pay for in whole or part the work in
the criminal justice sector.
There will be a selection process: We will work with you to mix and match and put measures in place.
There will be rules: Our expectations of you will be high and explicit because this is sensitive work. There will be things you/we cannot do/say and we will make an agreement with you to this effect.
Your package is bespoke: A combination of Andy’s services for you and your people or just the reciprocal
mentoring with a prison governor over your choice timescale.
Total commitment: The stakes are about as high as they can be for a prison governor right now. You need to
match their commitment at 100%. This opportunity is not for anyone – but if you believe it could be for you
and some of your people please contact Andy. andy@doingbigandscary.com

Main photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

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