Inside Time is a monthly newspaper for prisoners and prison staff, with over 60,000 copies distributed free of charge to all prisons in England and Wales. Rachel Billington is co-editor of the newspaper, and visited Khulisa's programme at HMP Peterborough in February 2019.
About Rachel Billington
Rachel Billington has been a professional writer since 1968, she has written a range of adult and childrens’ fiction as well as radio, TV and film scripts, and Rachel continues to write journalism for newspapers both in the UK and the US (most commonly The Sunday Telegraph). Rachel was President of English PEN (an online collection of the very best contemporary literature) from 1998-2001 and during her time as President, Rachel initiated a Readers & Writers Programme which sends books and writers to meet readers in schools, prisons and other institutions who lack resources. Rachel is also a Trustee of the Longford Trust which was set up in memory of her father, Lord Longford. The Trust organises a lecture each year on the subject of social or penal reform, gives a prize for those working in these areas and awards financial scholarships to ex-prisoners in university education. In 1991, Rachel became a member of the editorial team of Inside Time, and in 2012 Rachel was awarded an OBE for services to Literature.
Rachel joined one of Khulisa’s Silence the Violence programmes taking place at HMP Peteborough In February 2019. Silence the Violence is an award-winning prisoner-rehabilitation programme which has been delivered in prisons to over 3,200 people since 2007. Currently, Khulisa deliver Silence the Violence in 7 prisons in London and Manchester; each programme is an intensive 6-8 week experience which is available for the more volatile, violent or vulnerable prisoners who have complex histories. Trained art and drama therapists deliver this programme through a series of group and 1-1 interventions, the ultimate aim is to empower prisoners to make a successful and sustainable reintegration into their community upon release from prison.
The review in Inside Time
Rachel shared her positive experience in a piece titled “Space to grow – Rooms for trust, optimism and hope”. Although Rachel reflected on the “impressive experience” and how great it was to see men joining the programme voluntarily rather than completing a “tick box exercise”, she wanted to be sure about the long-term impact of our work: “What happens when the men go back on the wing? Like many, perhaps most prisons, Peterborough is reputed to have a problem with violence. Can Khulisa help aggressive men so that they choose another way?”
Rachel goes on to say that her “positive impression, although gained over a short period of time, is backed up by the figures”: a study commissioned by the Cabinet Office in 2016 showed that Khulisa’s interventions reduced re-offending by 77% and 79% had increased their motivation.
You can read the full article here, on the Inside Time website.
"These men have chosen to join the course voluntarily, which sets it apart from the usual prison courses, often described as ‘tick box exercises’ which are necessary hurdles to anyone wishing to progress in the system. At the end of our session, the men had to be shooed out of the room. None of them knew each other before the course but now they had created a group mentality, with the men, however different their outlook and backgrounds, prepared to help each other and themselves in the process."
We’re delighted that Rachel had such a positive experience during her visit to HMP Peterborough; if you’d like to find out more about Khulisa’s Silence the Violence programme, you can read about it on our website here, or you can get in touch with Khulisa’s Development Manager, Despina Bardosi by emailing her – firstname.lastname@example.org – for further details. We look forward to hearing from you.