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COMMENDEES 2011-12: Officer Boyles, with Stephanie, Piers and Adam from RAPt, are commended for their contributions to tackling alcohol dependency among prisoners at HMP Bullingdon.


[Bertil Boyles, Stephanie Chick, Piers Harris & Adam Payn give their account of the work for which they were awarded a Commendation]

The Alcohol Dependency Treatment Programme (ADTP) was introduced at Bullingdon as a pilot in April 2007, delivered jointly by prison and RAPt (Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust) staff. Accredited in March 2008, a total of 267 men have now completed the programme. In its first year the target was for 84 men to start the programme and for 56 to complete it. In fact, 78 completed the course, due to exceptionally low drop-out rate. This has continued year on year, demonstrating the amazing success of the programme.

Indeed, a recent  audit, carried out by Rehabilitation Services Group (RSG), gave a score of 121 which included an exceptional score on the quality of delivery part of the audit, which provided further assurance about the quality of the programme.   Locally this nomination has the utmost support from the establishment.  Bullingdon is very proud of ADTP and of the 4 individuals who have made it what it is. One offender stated that ADTP ‘saved his life’. An addict for years, he graduated from the programme, becoming a peer supporter and so helping other offenders complete it. Another offender, also a peer supporter, described the guidance and support he had received from the ADTP team as ‘life-changing’. Another graduate of the programme is about to progress to open conditions, and has stated he intends to set up AA groups there too.

Prior to 2007, RAPt had been successfully delivering drug services at Bullingdon for many years. However, despite the significant research and evidence linking alcohol abuse and offending behaviour, there were no programmes to help offenders to address alcohol addiction. ADTP was developed by Bullingdon and RAPt together, (overseen and supported by NOMS HQ) and is based on the well-established 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, with total abstinence from mood-altering substances at its core.

During the programme, speakers from AA attend and talk about their organisation and what support is available after the programme and on release. Feedback from the course graduates shows that this is invaluable to the men and helps them sustain their recovery.

One of the reasons so few offenders fail to complete the programme is the way the 4 staff deal with the clients one to one. The team make themselves available to the offenders for support, to help them sort out problems and in this way build relationships that contribute to the offender feeling able to remain on the programme, despite personal struggles along the way. The counsellors very rarely de-select an offender, instead, they talk to them, find out what is going on, offer help and support them through it. Research has shown that continuity of care, and successful aftercare is essential to sustained recovery. Therefore RAPt provides an aftercare service, and secondary care in the community at the Hull project run by RAPt. To maximise this at Bullingdon, the team facilitate RAPt community workers coming in to deliver a session in the final week of the ADTP.


[The following article appeared in issue 4 of the Butler Trust’s magazine, Inspire]

The team behind HMP Bullingdon’s Alcohol Dependency Treatment Programme (ADTP) have been given a commendation for their life transforming work. Piers Harris, treatment manager; Stephanie Chick and Adam Payn, counsellors; and Bertil Boyles, group facilitator, were nominated as ‘four extraordinary people’ with ‘exceptional teamwork’.

The ADTP is delivered by the prison in partnership with the Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust (RAPt), who have successfully delivered drug services at Bullingdon for many years. In the absence of any programmes to help prisoners address their alcohol addiction, and with significant research linking alcohol abuse and offending behaviour, ADTP was developed based on Alcohol Anonymous’ 12-step programme.

Employed by RAPt, Piers used his experience to shape the team and the programme using motivational techniques. Known for his skill in working with more difficult clients and keeping them on the programme, he has passed on these techniques to the team resulting in a very high client retention rate. Stephanie and Adam, also RAPt employees, have brought skilled counselling to the team, combining intuitive and imaginative techniques with thoughtful and kind liaison with the men on the programme.

Bertil, a prison officer and the only uniformed member of staff, is the group facilitator and has persuaded many clients to accept the help and support offered by the programme. As well as managing many of the programme’s practical logistics, he is credited with excellent motivational skills and an emotional intelligence that encourages positive outcomes and responses.

The success rate of the programme speaks for itself – in its first year the target was for 56 out of the 84 men who started the programme to complete it. In the event, 78 completed the course – a success rate that has continued year on year. One prisoner stated that ADTP saved his life, before graduating from the programme and going on to become a peer supporter to other prisoners. Another prisoner described the support he had received as ‘life-changing’. Another graduate is progressing to open conditions where he intends to set up AA groups.

Each member of the team has taken every opportunity to increase their knowledge and training, including on mental health issues that affect many alcohol addicts. They constantly make themselves available to prisoners for support and to sort out problems, helping them to stay on the programme and address difficult issues as they come up.

Piers and Bertil completed acupuncture training and now teach the techniques to enhance relaxation and combat cravings. Another more recent initiative is for the team to invite prisoners’ families to the end of course reviews, allowing them to share what their relative has been through and helping them to support him.

Until recently the programme was unique to Bullingdon, but Piers and Adam have now begun sharing expertise and advice with other establishments, introducing the programme to HMP Everthorpe and HMP Swaleside.

The team’s governor at Bullingdon praised the group for their innovative, ground-breaking work, commenting that it was much needed: ‘A history of alcohol misuse is so prevalent in custodial

populations, yet because it does not have the same taboos as drugs, it has often been overlooked in its importance to addressing offending behaviour, health and life chances.’

For more information: contact HMP Bullingdon

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