On 18th October 2012 at the House of Lords we launched the independent evaluation of our RESTORE prison programme. The research was carried out during 2011-2 by the Forensic Psychological Services at Middlesex University.
The meeting was hosted by our patron Lord Stone of Blackheath. We were delighted that the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Jeremy Wright MP, was able to attend, as was Stephen Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing Crime, plus many others from the prison and criminal justice sector. Jeremy Wright was very encouraging and congratulated the Forgiveness Project for its “imaginative approach” to criminal justice. It was widely recognised that the research shows that RESTORE can affect a prisoner’s attitude towards crime and therefore may have a very real effect on recidivism.
Quotes from the evaluation:
Prisoner:… I’d just say ‘think’. I, I’ll like think about my actions now. And just think about like, the wider picture, who, who else am I going to affect, ‘cos at first I’m just thinking ‘yeah, I’m just going to affect myself’. No, you affect your community, most of all you affect your family.
Prisoner: …”But I really do, I really do believe in the Forgiveness Project. And I don’t know if it’s come across, I’m not a great believer in courses and, and….But…for me, on a very personal note. What I took masses of, masses of amounts from it…And, I think that’s down to not only its structure, but its staff…You know, I think, I honestly do think they’re a wonderful group of people. And the way, the way, the way they go about doing what they’re trying to do. I think they’ve got spot on…You know, and, I will always- And it’s funny ‘cos I’ve never been that way and I probably never will be at any, anything else!”
Staff:….. It’s had some, it’s had a massive impact on, you know even lifers. I spoke to a probation officer today who said that one of her lifers was… He didn’t wanna engage, he didn’t want to do anything, he went on the Forgiveness course, er, Project, and now he’s engaging. And he’s doing really well, and he’s focusing on his future.