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Two groups of Merseyside’s former offenders have received personal development programmes despite the initial challenges posed by COVID thanks to agile working.

Magistra Civitas, one of VRP’s delivery partners working to reduce reoffending, adapted some of their programmes by transforming them into OCN-accredited Individual Learning Packs with support guidance arranged through video links and telephone contact.

Their Connect Programme focuses on the impact of imprisonment on family relationships.

“It’s critical that all parties understand the ripple effect of violence on others and just how important it is to stay connected – or reconnect – with positive relationships throughout imprisonment,” says Margaret Adams, Director of Magistra Civitas.

“Similarly, once offenders are released they do well to nurture strong relationships with family, friends or mentors because it’s been shown to help reduce the risk of violent offending in the future.”

Fifty individual learning packs have been distributed to three prisons for men returning to Merseyside, designed to build their resilience and manage their quality of life on release. Magistra will also deliver a full family workshop with offenders’ family members on Zoom – which will be co-delivered with POPS.

Magistra’s Restorative Practice programmes with women has also enjoyed a 100% success rate. These include Intuition, a gender-specific empowerment programme for women; Intuitive Relationships, which focuses on understanding the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships; Intuitive Parenting, a trauma-informed programme aimed at reducing intergenerational harm and Restoring Minds for emotional management.

“So far, the women supported have been involved in serious violence offences both as victims and perpetrators, creating a high level of complexity in terms of their risks, vulnerability and needs,” says Margaret.

“Despite this complexity, evaluation measures demonstrate that Magistra achieved 100% completion rates, while 100% of women achieved a positive shift in self-esteem, identifying their own support needs with the help of VRP’s projects. And we are delighted to say that every participant said they would recommend these programmes to others.”

 

 

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