HMP Maidstone Prison Council

HMP Maidstone Prison Council

Following the successful pilots at HMP Isle of Wight, User Voice was commissioned to implement our council model at HMP Maidstone.

The First Year: 2011

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During December 2010 and January 2011, we delivered a series of training workshops to 45 prisoners, covering topics such as:

  • Public speaking;
  • Solution-focused approaches to tackling problems;
  • Canvassing and campaigning, with the assistance of a local councillor.

After identifying the common challenges within HMP Maidstone, the prisoners were able to allocate themselves into 4 parties, each concentrating on specific areas: Community & Environment, Diversity & Equality, Resettlement and Training & Education.

The first elections were held in February 2011.

The 20 seats on the prison council were split between the parties as follows:

  • Diversity & Equality – 9 seats
  • Resettlement – 7 seats
  • Training & Education – 2 seats
  • Community & Environment – 2 seats

See media coverage of the first elections here.

The Second Year: 2012

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Council meetings were held on a monthly basis with Senior Management and their success led to User Voice being commissioned to continue the project into a second year.

Elections were held on 23 March 2012.

A significant improvement this year was the turnout amongst staff, which increased by more than 23%.

There was also a change in the party with a majority of seats on the council:

  • Resettlement – 7 seats
  • Diversity & Equality – 6 seats
  • Community & Residential – 4 seats
  • Work & Education – 3 seats

For a full breakdown of the results, click here.

The Third Year: 2013

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Elections were held on 24th September 2013.

Turnout of prisoners increased by an impressive 19%.

Furthermore, there were changes in the distribution of seats each party:

  • Resettlement – 10 seats
  • Diversity & Equality – 5 seats
  • Community & Residential – 4 seats
  • Work & Education – 1 seat

For a full breakdown of the results, click here

Moving forward

User Voice is pleased to announce that we have been commissioned to continue working in HMP Maidstone until March 2014.