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Supporting men to attend programme during lockdown 2021

27 October 2021
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Following the announcement of COVID-19 Alert Level 4, the Intensive Alcohol and Other Drug programme team had a strong desire to continue offering the intensive programme to men already participating. Despite limited staffing and restrictions within the prison, Manawatu Prison Learning and Intervention Delivery Manager Tracy Murphy worked with the custodial team to establish a working timetable to help run the programme. Phone conferencing for the two cohorts involved in the programme was up and running in no time at all.

Within the first week of Alert Level 4, the prison and programme teams discussed delivering the programme via AVL. This was quickly implemented following some collaborative problem solving. The remote delivery worked well for the team and, most importantly, the men involved in the programme.

“AVL sessions ensured we could continue offering facilitation and support. The men were very appreciative of the ongoing care and opportunity to keep involved in the programme,” said Sheldon Makano from The Salvation Army.

Sheldon and the team identified that the success of delivering the programme during Alert Levels 4 and 3, was due to the collaborative relationship between the prison and programme teams, and keeping the wellbeing of the men central to their focus.

Manawatu Prison D Block Movements Officer Stacey Vette was acknowledged for supporting arrangements necessary to make delivery of the programme a reality. This included sharing responsibilities like organising moving of the cohorts, arranging rooms, and sitting in on groups while they were being facilitated remotely. Without the relationships, we would not have been as successful as we were.

“I think there is more emphasis on the guys needing the support during lockdown,” says Stacey.

“For some, they were worried about the lockdown creating an uncertain scenario with their upcoming parole hearings and for others, the programme team was the only outside contact they had during lockdown. I saw my role as supporting the adapted programme delivery and creating innovative opportunities for pro-social engagement for men in prison.”

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