Beyond Recovery ran its first pilot group at HMP Onley in Warwickshire five years ago, supported by Phoenix Futures‘ service manager, Scott Davidson. Since then, Beyond Recovery’s success at Onley Prison has continued. Its team of facilitators has worked with more than 400 men and the results have been described as ‘phenomenal’.
Phoenix Futures is a charity that has been helping people overcome drug and alcohol problems for over 50 years. A key area of their provision is prison services and Scott, who is based at HMP Onley, wanted to try an innovative approach to interventions for his service users there.
Scott championed the introduction of Beyond Recovery after becoming intrigued by the paradigm they were teaching – The Three Principles. This led him to explore it further himself, which had a significant effect on him personally, and on his team. Equally, Scott and his colleagues were very impressed by the ‘phenomenal’ impact the Beyond Recovery programme was having on the prison’s residents.
The response to Beyond Recovery’s approach was remarkable according to Scott. He believes this was chiefly because it met the needs of the people in the room. The facilitators didn’t go in with a huge agenda, but instead their approach, inspired by Three Principles, enabled them to respond to anything that came up in the group in any moment.
The outcome was a remarkable change in many of the men who took part. They had insights very early on in the programme which resulted in changed behaviour. Those who had previously displayed entrenched negative behaviours – such as regularly fighting with prison officers – became some of best-behaved inmates. They were also able to demonstrate compassion and help others around them.
Scott said: “There is nothing more simple, succinct and effective than this in my opinion. Other interventions bring in layers of thinking and questions about technique, but Beyond Recovery doesn’t. Therefore they can really listen to the people in the room and point them to the wisdom every individual possesses, even if they don’t know it.”
Jacqueline Hollows, Beyond Recovery founder said: “We’re so grateful to Scott for recognising the potential of our approach and taking a leap of faith to bring us into Onley Prison. His willingness to try something different has enabled us to significantly impact the lives of many men over the last few years. In fact, Scott has contributed a great deal to Beyond Recovery’s success at Onley Prison.”
You can hear Scott explaining more in this video: https://youtu.be/ZmXKUAQZ_Mo