HMP Peterborough has become the first prison in the country to be awarded the Restorative Organisation Registration from the Restorative Justice Council.

Restorative processes bring those harmed by conflict into communication with those responsible for the harm – bringing the perpetrator and the victim together in a controlled, facilitated environment.

The practice can involve both a proactive approach to preventing harm and conflict alongside activities that repair harm where previous conflicts have arisen for both.

Taking a whole prison approach, every department within the Sodexo establishment is encouraged to implement restorative processes to maximise the positive impact on a day-to-day basis. It enables everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.

Within HMP Peterborough, both prisoners and staff are trained in the use of Restorative Approaches (RA) to resolve conflict, whether that is between prisoners or between prisoners and staff.

Both staff and trained RA peer workers deliver restorative meetings, bringing together both the ‘harmed’ and the ‘harmer’ to resolve issues, creating a safer, more harmonious environment.

A male prisoner stated: “

It helps to prevent issues escalating into violence. It can make landings happier places to be.

After facilitating an RA session between other prisoners, a female RA peer worker said:

“They explained their feelings and took responsibility, apologising to each other. They left happy and thanked me.”

As well as working with individuals, the whole-prison approach includes Restorative Justice and Restorative Families.

Restorative Justice (RJ) is delivered in partnership with external community-based providers, empowering victims to hold their offender to account. It also provides an opportunity for offenders to make amends for the harm caused.

Over the past three years, there have been an average of 15 RA meetings held per month, plus 36 Restorative Justice conferences between victims and their offenders. The use of restorative approaches in the prison, along with a suite of other measures, has helped to reduce conflict in the prison and to make it a safer place to live and work. 

Family links have been described as the ‘golden thread’ for rehabilitation; rebuilding those connections through Restorative families helps to reduce the risk of reoffending. Restorative Families helps to strengthen vital family ties. By engaging in the facilitated Restorative Families process, prisoners are able to reconnect with family members, resolve concerns or past conflict and rebuild their support network. 

Damian Evans, Director at HMP Peterborough said: 

We are very proud to have been recognised by the Restorative Justice Council in awarding us this accolade. Adopting Restorative Approaches across the prison has been beneficial for both the prisoners and our staff. Understanding the impact and consequences of actions can be a very powerful tool in the rehabilitative journey, as well as re-building essential support networks.

The Restorative Prison model is now being implemented across all Sodexo-run prisons in England and Scotland.

Jim Simon, Chief Executive Officer at the Restorative Justice Council said:

HMP Peterborough, operated by Sodexo, has embarked on a restorative journey to create a prison based on restorative principles. Over the past four years, prison leaders have embedded a restorative culture, which impacts positively on many aspects of prison life. Leaders have worked closely with staff and resident practitioners to develop effective restorative responses to conflict which repair harm and contribute to creating a safer, more harmonious environment.

The award of Registered status by the RJC is well deserved, and I would like to congratulate HMP Peterborough’s leaders, staff and residents on their achievement.

Back to the list

How can we help?

Follow us on Linkedin