The Friends of Erlestoke Prison helps to support offenders with the challenges of resettlement and rehabilitation and keeping in touch with their families whilst completing their sentence. The charity aims to:
'Promote & support the rehabilitation of prisoners who are or have been prisoners at HMP Erlestoke, by the provision of funds and services as the trustees think fit and in consultation with the prison Governors/Governing Body'
The charity has nine Trustees, six Patrons and a small committee of enthusiastic local individuals who continually seek ways to help the prison, staff and prisoners. The committee hold regular meetings and work with a forum within the prison who keep the Friends abreast of issues and challenges facing the prison. The forum is made up of staff and prisoners who also put forward ideas for projects and initiatives which require funding.
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Royal Patron
Sir John Nutting Q.C.
The Lord Margadale of Islay
John Bush, CVO, JP
Sir Christopher Benson, DL
Angela Hughes (Chair)
Mark Mangham (Treasurer)
Simon Petchey (Governance)
Carolyn Deverall (Secretary)
HMP Erlestoke is a Category C adult male predominantly rehabilitation prison and is the only prison in Wiltshire. Located in the rural village of Erlestoke, the nearest railway station is Westbury, 8 miles away. There are eight residential units with predominantly single cells with in-cell sanitation. There are three standard units, one of which is used for induction, four are enhanced units, one is dedicated to programmes which address substance abuse issues and past behaviours. The prison is intervention-focused and whilst it will accept all Category C prisoners, they will primarily be serving sentences of 4 years or more. The total operational capacity of the Prison is 524.
The prison's vision is to realise their potential as a safe and secure establishment that provides offenders with the motivation and opportunities to lead crime free lives. Decency, respect and integrity are central to all prison activities. For further information, please visit: HMP Erlestoke or you can follow them on Twitter: @HMPErlestoke
In support of the prison's resettlement and rehabiliation work, The Friends of Erlestoke Prison have funded the following projects:
A Housing Support Worker to support offenders, prior to release, to find suitable housing.
A joint venture with Victim Support to create a large mosaic which depicts the impact of crime on victims. A small group of offenders and victims worked together with a mosaic artist to develop the mosaic. The final artwork now hangs in a prominent position in the prison for all visitors, staff and offenders to view. (This project was match funded by the Devizes Area Board)
Origami classes to encourage prisoners' creative skills. Cards are made and packaged during these sessions and are sold in various outlets including the Erlestoke Farm Shop and the Salisbury Cathedral gift shop. Approximately £7,500 was raised from the sale of cards in 2019/20.
Funding of the 'Resettlement into Open Conditions' courses for offenders moving to Cat D establishments
Equipment for Health Trainers who provide peer support on health and wellbeing issues
Ongoing supply of children's 'Book Start' packs which are available in the Visits Hall. The packs provide a focus for children and their dads to play and read together during prison visits.
A scheme for offenders’ families and friends which provides transport on visit days from Westbury Station and Devizes town centre to the prison and back again.
Yoga classes for offenders to help with anger management, relaxation and general well being. (in conjunction with the Phoenix Trust)
Art classes to develop prisoners' creative talents and help with self expression, improved self esteem and a sense of achievement.
Several drama workshops to assist offenders with self confidence and building self esteem.
Drumming equipment for music therapy sessions in the chapel
Sourcing and arranging monthly guest speakers for the 'older prisoner' group