HMP Inverness deliver Burns Suppers to Highland Homeless Trust

On 25th January 2016, HMP Inverness prepared 35 traditional burns suppers and delivered them to the Highland Homeless Trust. The haggis was piped in by local piper Alex Dickson and the haggis addressed by Prison officer Ian Wylie.

Prison Governor Natalie Beal commented, “Accommodation is a key support factor for those leaving custody.  Prisoners have a higher risk of homelessness due to losing their tenancy while in custody, or being unable to return to their previous accommodation when liberated. The through care support officers at HMP Inverness provide a hugely valuable service by securing accommodation for prisoners on release and as part of their overall community reintegration.”

The TSO role has been developed by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) to offer internal and external rehabilitative support to prisoners prior to and importantly post release.  One of their roles is to offer help to prisoners in securing accommodation before release, therefore reducing their chances of reoffending. Paul, a prisoner at HMP Inverness, who has been working with David (TSO) said,
“Davie has done everything in helping to set up accommodation for my release, making me feel relaxed and that I don’t need to worry.” His through care officer David added, “We try and take the worry of homelessness away from prisoners prior to liberation by securing some form of accommodation for their release.”

Derek Taylor, Operations Manager said “The Burns Supper is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of services being offered and developed by the SPS and Gateway (Homeless Trust); highlighting the good work being carried out by the SPS Through Care team to help reduce the risk of prisoners reoffending and in support of greater outcomes in regard to positive community reintegration.”

Alex Gilchrist from Gateway-Highland Homeless Trust said, “Gateway (Highland Homeless Trust) is delighted to be working with SPS to raise awareness of the work that both our organisations do to promote positive lifestyles with the aim to reduce the possibilities of reoffending.  Our support staff have been working with our client to carry out some research on the traditions of the celebration of Rabbie Burns, this will be enable our clients to take an active role in the celebrations and enjoy a lovely traditional evening.”

Gateway will continue to work with the staff within the SPS to provide support and accommodation for prisoners following liberation in the hope that having a secure and safe place to stay provides a strong stepping stone to an improved life in the community.

Burns Supper