Published: Friday, 29 September 2023
*Shared in partnership with HMP Fosse Way and HMP Leicester
Are you looking for a career change but lack the relevant work experience? Or are you searching for ways to meet new people and fill your time? Maybe you’re looking for ways to increase your confidence after having taken a break from the working world? Or maybe you’re a student or young person looking to develop your skillset and gain experience?
If any of the above apply to you, and you’re also looking for a voluntary role which provides insight into a world that few people see, then you could join our team of ordinary people doing an extraordinary role: independent monitors in prisons and immigration detention. All our members are unpaid public appointees, appointed by Ministers.
If so, the independent monitoring board (IMB) at HMP Fosse Way and HMP Leicester are looking for people who live locally (within 30 miles) to join them.
So why join our Boards? As one member says: “It could be the most rewarding thing you have ever done, and you can make a real difference to prison life. I was unemployed when I started volunteering and did not know how I would be able to re-enter the workplace after being out of work for so long. The experience and confidence I gained on the Board enabled me to get paid employment, which I now do alongside my volunteer role.”
Once members have received their security clearance, they have unrestricted access to the prison and can talk to any prisoner they wish to, out of sight and hearing of members of staff if necessary, in order to monitor day-to-day activity across the establishment. This provides an opportunity to report on whether individuals are being treated fairly and humanely and whether they are being given the support they need to turn their lives around.
We are looking for people who share our values and commitment and are keen to give back to their community. You will need to: be a good listener; always act with integrity; be committed to equality, diversity and inclusion; be able to analyse observed events and behaviour, make decisions and apply common sense. You will also need to work within a team, be a good communicator and have basic computer skills.
Above all we are looking for people with a non-judgemental and open-minded approach.
If this sounds like you then we would love to meet you. After an initial training period, you will be expected to commit to an average of 2-3 visits a month, which includes attendance at a monthly Board meeting.
Although this is an unpaid role, we pay travel and subsistence expenses, childcare/carer costs and, in certain circumstances, contributions towards loss of earnings.
If you are interested, then book onto a virtual open evening to find out more about the role and hear from some of our existing volunteers. Alternatively, please visit the website.