Change of Terminology

Historically, it has been the policy of Friends Of Peterborough Prison (FOPP) to use the term “residents” when referring to prisoners, in line with the practice among officers and staff within the prison.

Following direction from Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), from 16th May 2022 prison officers and staff have been instructed to use the terminology “prisoners”, “people in prison” and/or “offenders” rather than “residents”.

After consideration by FOPP directors, it has been decided that we will use the same terminology as that adopted within the prison.  You may notice minor changes to our website as we begin to introduce the revised terminology.

This change is purely one of terminology.  Our values of impartiality, respect, safety, decency and diversity remain unchanged, along with our policy of being non-judgemental.

 

Removal of COVID-19 Restrictions.

Today, 11th May 2022, a notice on the Sodexo prison website announced the removal of virtually all COVID-19 restrictions from social visits.  Social distancing and face masks are no longer required for social visits. This applies to families, significant others, other visitors, prisoners and staff.

You can read the full statement by expanding the item dated 11th May 2022 on our Lockdown in Prison page.

Tea Bar Open.

We are delighted to announce that FOPP staff and volunteers have re-opened the Tea Bar in the Visitor Centre today, 19th April 2022, after an enforced closure of almost 25 months due to the COVID pandemic.  The directors of FOPP are working hard to make sure that our normal volunteering roles inside the secure areas of the prison will also be reinstated as soon as possible.

FOPP Annual Meeting 2021

Following an absence of a formal meeting last year because of the Coronavirus restrictions, we were delighted to hold our Annual Meeting in person again this year.  The meeting was held in the Learning and Development Centre at the prison, with the familiar masks/social distancing precautions in place.  We were treated to a much anticipated update from the prison Director, Mr. Damian Evans, explaining how the pandemic has impacted the normal prison routine and how this has affected those in his care.

There was good news for FOPP as Mr. Evans confirmed that he was keen to get our volunteers back in the prison to resume their usual roles as soon as possibly practical.  FOPP directors are now actively working with the prison management towards this goal.  It was also made clear that re-opening the Tea Bar in the Visitor Centre is seen as a priority.

As it is so long since we have been allowed into the establishment, all volunteers were reminded of our responsibility to maintain confidentiality, and our attention was drawn to the Confidentiality Agreement that we all sign on becoming accepted as a volunteer.  The pertinent part of the document reads as follows:

I agree that I will not divulge any confidential information to anybody unless authorised to do so. This authority would come from the person sharing the confidential information unless it would lead to the harm of others or themselves or compromise the security of the establishment. All Volunteers should ensure that no discussion relating to individual users of the service takes place.

I will give no statements to any outside agencies, including the press or social media, about anything concerning the prison, staff, visitors or volunteers.

Copies of our Annual Report and Financial Accounts can be found on the Reports page in our Members’ Area.

FOPP Summer Outing

On the afternoon of Tuesday 20th July 2021, FOPP volunteers were able to meet up in person for the  first time since before the Coronavirus pandemic appeared.  On a hot, rather humid day, the group met for the usual drinks and cakes (actually, puddings on this occasion!) sitting on the terrace of the Boathouse pub/restaurant.  Fortunately, we were all able to find tables with sunshades, which served as umbrellas when a threatened thunderstorm briefly sprinkled us with a few drops of cooling rain.  After a good long chat and face-to-face catch-up with friends, those with the energy rounded off the afternoon by taking a gentle stroll through the woods alongside the rowing lake. 

We hope to arrange our next group gathering in October.  This is usually a formal FOPP meeting where we discuss FOPP finances, introduce new volunteers and have a briefing on prison matters from the Prison Director.  This year, as FOPP volunteers have still not been able to go into the prison, we may opt for a rather more informal format.  Further details to follow nearer the time.

Test & Hug Pilot Scheme

Sodexo announced today that HMP Peterborough is taking part in a pilot scheme called “Test & Hug”, which will allow residents to embrace visitors as long as they both test negative for Covid-19 on the day of the visit.  The full statement from Sodexo is available to view on our Lockdown in Prison page.

Obituary

It is with great sadness that we must report the death of one of our employees, Mary Malcolm, our Tea Bar Assistant.  In addition to this role, Mary also volunteered for a number of organisations, including FOPP, the Samaritans and Family Fund.  She was a familiar face within the prison and will be missed by many.

Mary’s funeral was held today at Peterborough Crematorium.  All of us in FOPP send our condolences to Mary’s family.

Residents Allowed To Hug Children

From Tuesday 1st May 2021, residents will be permitted to hug visitors who are under the age of 11.  It will also be permissible for people from two different households (family or friends) to make a combined visit, but the limit on the number of visitors per session will remain at 3 people.

Call A Spade A Spade?

FOPP Volunteers are used to helping “Residents” in HMP Peterborough.  But an article in The Times newspaper yesterday reported that the Prisons Minister has told prison officials to stop calling inmates “Residents”, “Clients” or “Service Users” and refer to them simply as “Prisoners”.  It will be interesting to see if/when this policy is introduced by Sodexo in HMP Peterborough.

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