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COMMENDEE 2019-20: Tracy’s Commendation is for her inspirational leadership, compassion and dedication, as the Business Administrator for the Safer Custody and Equalities team at HMP Ford.

Tracy’s gifts are persuasively reflected in testimonials from colleagues and offenders alike, with her Governor Stephen Fradley praising her for longstanding dedication to “continually seek to improve life in Ford for the men in our custody”.

Initial nominator and Tracy’s Line Manager at HMP Ford, David Dean, praises her as “a good listener” who has been very supportive to him personally, and describes her as an “excellent manager, friendly and with a good sense of humour.”

Butler Trust Local Champion and Ford’s Head of Offender Management, Phil Ballantyne, calls Tracy “the heart and soul of the Safer Custody and Equalities Department at HMP Ford”, someone who is “well-liked and revered by staff and prisoners for her dedication, compassion and diligence.”

Phil says that he’s “experienced multiple prisoners wanting to help Tracy with her own mobility issues because they know that she always helps others above sometimes her own needs. She firmly believes that HMPPS can always do more to achieve openness and humanity by changing lives together and is an outstanding advocate for equalities and inclusiveness.” Phil adds that Tracy is committed uses to ensuring “everyone has access to all the services provided within a resettlement environment. The transfer into an open prison places greater responsibility on individuals and this can be daunting, creating anxiety and stress. Rather than allow some to disappear within a large site with few uniformed staff, Tracy actively seeks to facilitate avenues for everyone that are accessible and support bespoke release plans.” Phil adds:

“Tracy always goes above and beyond what is expected of her… She has set up a wide range of diversity and equalities support groups, champions the men and the prison at every opportunity, and has the trust and respect of everyone. The team of prisoners she has established to do much of the day to day work across the safer custody and equalities field are committed and motivated due to her support, direction and enthusiasm.”

Tracy often attends events and activities representing the prison in the community and to increase her own contacts to use in her role, says Phil, “the most recent examples being attendance at Armed Forces events over recent weekends and training events with the Samaritans in the evenings. The prison now has an ever-expanding network of useful contacts which we are able to draw on to offer additional support to our men thanks to her efforts. For the first time recently a number of veterans in custody from the prison completed a training course on day release run by veterans charity Building Heroes, which she was instrumental in supporting and enabling.”

Simon, a prisoner and veteran, says that “if it hadn’t been for Tracey I would never have heard about ‘Building Heroes’ or got onto one of its training courses… She personally made sure I got onto the course, chased all the various departments here to make it happen on time, and checked on my progress. Even more of a surprise was when she turned up at my course graduation in her own time. As I leave prison shortly my prospects are so much better thanks to her efforts supporting me.”

Another offender, Duncan*, adds his own testimonial: “In the time I have been working for equalities I have had a number of challenges both within and outside of HMP Ford. During these times I had support from many friends and staff alike. However, Ms Perry was exceptional in giving me advice as well as a shoulder to lean on when times were tough. I found her to always be available and eager to help me. I have no hesitation in nominating her for this award which she really deserves.”

Jason*, another offender and one of the prison’s Listeners, says:

“I can’t praise Tracey highly enough. To her the prison isn’t just a job, and we’re not just prisoners. She always does more than she probably should and is always looking to do more for us. Everyone thinks she’s amazing!”

Governor Stephen Fradley also offers strong praise for Tracy:

“Of all the nominations I have made over many years, both for the Butler Trust and other organisations, I can think of few individuals who stand out as much as Tracy. She is an unassuming person who continually seeks to improve life at Ford for the men in our custody, and I am constantly finding out the latest initiative or development that she has set up without fanfare or seeking recognition. The only words I hear about her from everyone here are words of praise, often highlighting the efforts she has gone to in order to support a particular individual and which have gone way beyond what would be expected or delivered in most prisons in my experience.”

Like so many winners, Tracy describes her job in straightforward and unemphatic terms, and sees her work “as just doing my job, nothing extraordinary.” As so often, it seems we are not alone in taking different view – as her Governor says, “the supporting comments from just a few of the men here represent the views of everyone at Ford”, and he adds that, in response to being a Butler Trust winner, “every single prisoner at Ford would cheer on her behalf, and that every member of staff would acknowledge that she rightfully deserves it.”

* Names have been anonymised


With thanks to HMP Ford, to initial nominator and Line Manager David Dean, Butler Trust Local Champion and Head of Offender Management Phil Ballantyne, to colleagues and offenders providing testimonials, and to Governor Stephen Fradley, for their contributions.

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