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COMMENDEE 2013-14: Custody Officer: for contributions to the management and care of older prisoners, and those with complex social care needs.
Mick Body of HMP Birmingham has been commended for expanding the prison’s Social Care Unit and his therapeutic approach to working with elderly and disabled prisoners.
The unit deals with issues like disability support and end of life care, and includes recreation rooms and a productive vegetable and flower garden, with all proceeds from sales donated to local charities. Mick works with prisoners to help keep them active and stimulated and has built up good relationships with external partners in the health and mental health sectors, as well as charities such as Age UK.
‘This group of prisoners are generally compliant and easy to manage,’ says Mick. ‘However, effective day-to-day care and support means that they are less likely to deteriorate and more likely to maintain good health.’ He works hard to engage the prisoners in stimulating wing-based employment or education, as many of them feel they don’t want to ‘retire’ but have limited options because of health or mobility issues or disabilities.
‘I use my interpersonal skills to support some difficult and vulnerable individuals,’ says Mick, ‘spending quality time talking with them and supporting them with basic tasks that may have become difficult for them, but at the same time ensuring that I promote a culture of independence and dignity.’
‘Mick is always first in, getting the residents up, ensuring that they have eaten their breakfast and had a hot drink,’ says Residential Manager Phil Chamberlain. ‘Mick goes out of his way to make time for each individual, some of whom have some very serious mental and physical difficulties. He has developed regimes for each individual so that they can enjoy purposeful activity and feel that they are included within the prison environment.’ One prisoner stated that “I feel useful and not a burden, and I enjoy watching our garden develop. We just need the sunshine.”
For more information: contact HMP Birmingham
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