In-Cell Learning at HMP Stocken

Think Pieces

By Basma Aboudihaj · April 23, 2021

Our work in Prisons across the UK has continued throughout the pandemic, but we’ve had to change from our usual classroom learning to in-cell learning to comply with Covid restrictions.
As a result, we have seen better outcomes because of it; with service users spending more time learning in-cell than they did in classrooms.
Below is feedback from two case workers and four service users from HMP Stocken about their experiences with our courses over the lockdown period.

Kate and Sherwyn – Case Workers
Since early 2021 ITS have been delivering in-cell courses to CFO3 participants in HMP Stocken. The courses were adapted for this purpose and the service users have appreciated being given the opportunity to learn and progress even when Covid restrictions are in place. It has been great for us as case workers to be able to offer more options for our clients and we have had a solid uptake from them. As the courses are voluntary this has also helped the men demonstrate commitment to the offender management unit.

The course content is relevant to the environment and the barriers the participants face. We have received great feedback from the service users and many have completed several of the courses. ITS have made the process simple and effective for us to make referrals and process the paperwork once completed.

LF – IR Course
I now have a solid watertight plan in place which is really useful because I’m a firm believer that ‘If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail’ Having my plan to ‘never use again’ not only keeps me focussed but also motivated. I feel more empowered now than ever before because of the learning and understanding that ‘I’ am in control. Just being able to identify my ‘Ambivalence’ and not debating with ‘IT’ has been such a useful tool to learn because I now have something to say no too!

MC – S2E Course
I have learnt so much by doing this course which will help me upon release with preparing for employment. It will help me be more focused and targeted in my approach to employers as I am now aware of how to cover all angles and see my plan through to succeed. I feel more confident now and this is due to being able to break things down into smaller tasks rather than seeing things as one big huge task which I would see as too big to achieve and talk myself out of doing it. I really believe I can achieve better things in life now and this course has helped me get me focussed.

SM – KR Course
The course has shown me how to change my thinking patterns by using critical thinking. Just this one simple skill has already made me more positive. This will help me in all aspects of my life and I know I will build better relationships because of this. SWOT Analysis has made me realise I have a lot more to offer and has really lifted my self-belief and confidence. I have already noticed I am engaging with people better and not getting caught up in negative situations as I am now more aware. It’s almost silly because it makes you realise this is simple stuff to learn where you just need to think before you act by using transposing and doing what ‘I’ want to do rather than listening or acting on the negative beliefs that I’ve previously acted upon.

LF – S2L Course
This course has really helped me change the way I think, especially whilst in Custody. I have learnt how my beliefs and bias have affected by behaviour in the past and now that I can use critical thinking I can question and think to determine the facts before acting. I am now thinking more clearly and positively which is really helping me through each day being locked up in my cell for so long.