Peer social support training in UK prisons
Warren Stewart Senior lecturer, University of Brighton, Brighton, England
Rachel Lovely Health service manager, Care UK, England
Aim To undertake a service evaluation to assess the effect of peer social support training using two separate learning programmes, which were designed to assist prisoners to support older prisoners and prisoners with disabilities.
Method The service evaluation used an action research approach to support planning, delivery and data collection. Eleven interviews with nine prisoners who had undertaken the peer social support training programmes and two members of prison staff (one nurse manager and one prison officer) were recorded and transcribed by the researchers. This data was coded and thematically analysed to evaluate the findings. Recommendations were made regarding the format and content of the training.
Findings The training was well received by the peer social support worker trainees and had several positive outcomes, including increased peer social support, improved relationships between peer social support workers and older prisoners and prisoners with disabilities, increased self-esteem, measured as ‘social capital’, among peer social support workers, and effective teamworking.
Conclusion The peer social support training programmes were considered to be a positive intervention and were effective in supporting peer social support roles. Recommendations for future training of prisoner peer support workers include involving existing peer social support workers in training and recruitment, and enhancing the role of peer social support workers in prisons by providing them with job descriptions.
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software
Conflict of interest
Received: 24 May 2017
Accepted: 07 July 2017
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