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Feedback from Good Vibrations at Whatton September 2013

We’ve just seen the feedback from guys at Whatton Prison 2 weeks ago (and also learnt that all but two of them have done the work necessary to attain an OCN Teamworking Skills Level 1 qualification!):

“There’s nothing to look forward to in prison – apart from your release date. If you have one. This has been something to look forward to.”

“A real mix of ages – it’s great that older guys have gelled with much younger ones. This prison is divided pretty much into age groups. This is a rare opportunity to mix.”

“It’s confidence building. I did it last year, and after that I did IT and a first tier certificate in that. That was definitely because of this [GV]”

“Listening skills – when others are playing you have to really listen to them.”

“We’ve worked as a team. For example, when choosing song names, we have to do this diplomatically and showing respect for others’ ideas.”

“A sense of achievement”

“My teamworking with Prison Officers is not good – now I’ve done this I’m going to see if I can apply it. I think I can see them now as human beings, as just people that I can get on with.”

“Outside this room, stress levels are high. Inside here, less.
[will having done GV help with stress levels on the wings?]
Yes, definitely. I can stick on the CD, think about the music, it calms me down… “[general agreement]

“It’s a chance to exercise skills we’ve learnt on Offending Behaviour Courses – there’s not much chance otherwise.
[what kind of skills have you had the chance to practice?]
working as a team, dealing with other people, keeping calm and listening.” [general agreement]

“We didn’t know each other before, on the whole. The bonds we have formed with each other will continue on the wings.”

“Yes, in March [when I did GV last time] I made some friends and afterwards we would say hello when we saw each other. It gives you common grounds to talk about, a shared experience.”

“Prison damages self-esteem. To be able to accomplish something is very positive. The positive appreciation and feedback [we have experienced] is important.”

“It’s nice for the governors to see me doing something positive. I feel I’ve been seen in a positive light for a change.”

“For all prisoners, the experience in prison is one of negativity. We lose our identity, our self-esteem. There are elements of humiliation and degradation in prison. All aspects of GV – communication, mutual support – are usually trampled on in prison. Here [in the project] they are enthusiastically encouraged. This really lifts you as a person, as a human being. I’ve been inside for 4 years and this is missing from prison. If communication and teamworking are encouraged more, if people feel like human beings, this creates more positive environment for people to learn. “

“This week has reminded me of how I was before: listening, working alongside other people, being part of something. Like real life. Like I used to be in society. It reminded me of that. It brought back ways of being that Id forgotten about.”

“I’ve felt like a human being. Here you’re seen as an individual not as “an offender”. Here we are “musicians”!”

“There’s a sense of normality here.”

“When I get out, I’m definitely going to carry on with gamelan.”

“Maslow’s hierarchy of needs says that everyone needs to feel like they belong to something. This is what GV and you guys do.”

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Photography by Toby Madden/The Independent, Osman Deen/South London Press, Camilla Panufnik, Elspeth Van Der Hole, GDA Design, Gigi Chiying Lam, G. Bland, Alan Bryden, Mark Carlin, Rachel Cherry, Francois Boutemy, Andy Hollingworth, Rebaz Yassin, and Guy Smallman.

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