I came to Jersey last Easter with my husband, three children and our golden retriever.
It definitely took quite a lot of re-adjusting to live in Jersey and work for the Government here, but we’re all really settled in now and loving Island life. We’ve enjoyed the winter much more than people suggested we might, and we’re enjoying the signs of spring with the promise of another beautiful Jersey summer to come.
People always ask me why I’ve chosen to work in prisons. I think I assumed that every little girl growing up wanted to do that! It’s just what I was born to do.
I started work experience as a trainee psychologist in my local prison when I was 18 years old and spent four years in prisons doing research for a BSc in Psychology and Criminology and an MSs in Forensic Psychology and publishing my research on Dyslexia in prison. During my time at university, I mentored ex-offenders (and some re-offenders) and begun to see how predictable a number of the factors that lead to imprisonment can be. I felt strongly that if we could tackle these root causes, we would have a chance of reducing the risk of reoffending, the evidence base suggests that to some extent this is true.
I joined the UK Prison Service as a prison officer on a Fast Track Graduate Scheme in 2004, and have never looked back.
What brought me to Jersey
I felt the lure of being the head of the prison on a self-governing island, where we could cut through needless bureaucracy and focus on doing ‘the right thing’, following the literature and evidence from jurisdictions across the world to get the best possible result.
I feel so blessed to have this opportunity, and so supported by the Justice and Home Affairs Department and the wider Government in being able to realise this potential. The quality of people employed at La Moye and the investment in the infrastructure means that this prison really can be the best in the world.
Our priorities right now are:
- recovery from the recent fire [22 January] and getting a working kitchen back up and running
- establishing the ‘7 pathways framework’ which is widely recognised in assisting with rates amongst prisoners and working collaboratively across Government.
- creating a ‘rehabilitative culture’, this means normalising life in prison and making it less institutionalised to ease that transition back into everyday life on release
- building on our learning from other prisons and their evidence-based approach; we’re currently working with a prison in Norway, considered to be one of the best in the world
- opening the next phase of our building infrastructure in the summer, and reviewing the design of the next phases to ensure that it really supports what we’re working to achieve
- working on our continuous improvement journey to get a ‘New Operating Model’ that ensures we achieve the best possible outcomes, efficiently and underpinned by proper processes, making us a more resilient organisation and ensuring that people have fair workloads and levels of responsibility
- working closely with the UK prison and probation system (HMPPS) so we can keep the best bits of Jersey (there is lots that’s already better in Jersey than the UK!) while benefitting from all the research, development and economies of scale that are available to us through HMPPS
- we are working through a ‘new operating model’ looking at our people, processes and IT to ensure we are set up to be as efficient and effective as we can be to get great outcomes without wasting public money
I hope that has given a little insight into your prison governor and a better idea of what we’re currently working on here at the prison, and what developments you can expect to see from your Island’s prison service in the future.