York Training Academy
COMPASS services in York welcomed European colleagues to the first Training Academy of the ACCESS project during the week of the 17 October.
The training was attended by 16 workers involved in various aspects of the planning and delivery of services for drug users in prison and the criminal justice systems in Italy, France, Portugal, Romania and Estonia.
The training provided a one day formal training on international guidelines and evidence from research on the provision of treatment and harm reduction within the criminal justice system. It then offered an overview of the development of health and care services for drug users in custody in England, together with recent innovations to improve the care pathway from custody to community in terms of medical follow up, social care and wraparound services such as housing and education.
The second day focused on experiences of continuity of care in the participating countries, with useful discussions about barriers and the ways to address them.
During the week, colleagues visited Compass services in York and Hull including the newly revamped Hull Harm Reduction Services, the Compass Offender Recovery Service which provides services for offenders in custody and the community and work with the courts, housing services and the Drug Interventions Programme.
Participants gave very positive feedback at the end of the week. The training was useful not only for shared learning of concepts and methodology but also for the exchange of practical experiences and tactics between participants and Compass staff in York and Hull.
Colleagues welcomed the informal setting of the training which allowed delegates to talk openly about the obstacles and barriers which often prevent communication between different professionals involved in work in prison.
Critically, participants left the training with plans to cascade their learning at home.
The second Training Academy has been scheduled for Autumn 2012 in Barcelona and will focus on harm reduction in prison.
From Cinzia Brentari, ACCESS Project Co-Ordinator