A NEW scheme to help rehabilitate prisoners has been launched at HMP IW.

In May, the prison adopted a ‘key worker’ system, meaning that each of the 200 plus prison officers are assigned a maximum of six prisoners who they take responsibility for.

Each prisoner gets 45 minutes a week with their key worker — this could be for sentence planning, resolving any issues the prisoner has, or as simple as a social period, such as a game of pool.

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Governor Doug Graham said: “Part of what we do in prison is getting people to a point where they can leave prison and will be less likely to reoffend.

“That is about developing interpersonal and decision-making skills, as well as boosting self worth.

“When you are dealing with quite serious offenders like we are, prevention of those future crimes is an important task.”

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Gordon Wakefield, the lead member of staff on the key worker scheme, said: “This shift in priorities has probably been the biggest change to the service in a generation.

“The sex offenders we have here have committed some of the most heinous crimes, some against children and babies.

“Every member of our families are replicated in the victims of these men.

“There is a perception that we should be treating these people really austerely — beatings twice a day, that sort of thing — but in reality, that is not going to rehabilitate them into someone who is safe to release.

“The men here will be released at some point, which means one day they may be in front of us in a supermarket queue — we are working to make sure that person is safe for society.

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“Officers become coaches for the residents, providing advice and motivation.

“An officer could go from being assaulted to minutes later sitting down and having a conversation with that man to discuss how he could have dealt with the situation better.”