Isle of Man News - POSTED Wed 03-12-2014

Prison work project helping hospital patients

by MT

A sewing project at the Isle of Man Prison is benefitting hospital patients and generating significant savings for the Department of Health and Social Care.
Slings made from recycled material by a prisoner at Jurby are assisting the recovery of people being treated at Noble’s Hospital. The slings are reusable and are replacing the single-use, disposable variety previously provided to patients.
Rachel Charker, Senior Linen Assistant at Noble’s Hospital, said: ‘This is helping to save the hospital a considerable amount of money. Whereas the wards previously had to purchase disposable slings, the items produced at the prison can be laundered and reused a number of times at a fraction of the cost.’
She added: ‘I have received 30 slings to date, all of which have been made to a very high standard. They have been exceptionally well constructed to precise guidelines, with great care taken in the sewing and finishing off. This is an excellent example of Government Departments working together for the benefit of Island residents and I hope we can continue this successful venture in the future.’
The ability to provide a range of meaningful activities plays an important role in maintaining discipline and safety at the prison, as well as contributing towards the rehabilitation of offenders. This also supports the Prison and Probation Service’s overall commitment to combating crime and reducing the associated social and economic costs.
Jobs for prisoners in the kitchens, laundry or gardens are supplemented wherever practical by suitable easily-learned, high-volume work provided in partnership with local organisations.
In addition to producing slings for Noble’s Hospital, the prison is engaged in the creation of reusable shopping bags from material donated to environmental charity Zero Waste Mann. It is also hoped to continue the collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care by producing mammogram capes.
The Department of Home Affairs is looking to build on the success of these projects by identifying opportunities for more work to be introduced into the prison.
Michael Coleman MLC, the Department Member with responsibility for the Prison and Probation Service, said: ‘Encouraging offenders to take part in this type of activity provides purpose and structure to their day and a chance to make a positive contribution to the local community. There’s also the potential to learn marketable skills, which can help offenders to settle back into the community on their release from prison.’
He added: ‘The rehabilitation of offenders is a key element of the Department’s flagship Criminal Justice Strategy and we are continuing to explore ways to provide more opportunities within existing budgets. The Department is committed to protecting vulnerable people and the Prison and Probation Service is focused on achieving meaningful outcomes for offenders, victims and the general public.’
Charities and businesses are being encouraged to join forces with the Department of Home Affairs to offer new work projects at the prison. To discuss ideas, please contact Mike Speers, Principal Officer Regimes and Resettlement, on 891069 or

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