BISHOPS and other clergy have met inmates from HMP La Moye as part of a week of activity focusing on strengthening the prison’s links with the community.
Clerics including the Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Rev Stephen Lake, took part in a service with prisoners during their morning trip to La Moye on Tuesday 10 October, an event that coincided with a four-day visit to the Island hosted by the Dean of Jersey, the Very Rev Mike Keirle.
Staff and inmates have been marking Prisons Week, a week of prayer dedicated to those whose lives are affected by crime and imprisonment.
The prisoners who took part in yesterday’s service recently completed a five-day multi-faith retreat, held within the prison walls, which featured group and private prayers and one-to-one discussions with those running the event.
Prison governor Susie Richardson said that feedback from the retreat had been “phenomenal” and that Prisons Week was being extended to involve all prisoners and staff.
The idea, she said, was to showcase the work done by the Prison to the Island and demonstrate a commitment to deinstitutionalise the facility, which currently houses around 150 prisoners – 60% of its capacity.
Ms Richardson added: “We want the community to know what we do and why it’s important to invest in complex people in order to release better neighbours once prisoners have completed their sentences.”
Today, the Prison will host a presentation to staff on the science behind reducing offending, given by criminologist Fergus McNeil, while other activities during the week will include a chess competition, a ballet display and a run in memory of prison officer Scott Barnes, who died in service in 2017.
Brain injury charity Headway Jersey was selected as a designated good cause for the week, benefitting from a weightlifting challenge in which prisoners and staff successfully completed more than 82,900 20kg lifts – the equivalent to one for every prisoner in the UK.
Members of prison officers’ families had the chance to visit over the past weekend, with treats served to attendees in recognition for their support.
Speaking after the service, Mr Keirle said the visit from Bishop Stephen and other representatives from the Diocese of Salisbury was the first of its type, and that he had been delighted to incorporate the prison visiting following a discussion with the governor.
He said: “I was particularly struck when one of the prisoners said during the service that even inside La Moye there was a free will for prisoners in terms of their faith and making the choice to lead better lives – it was a compelling moment.”