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Serco's Brenda Fraser receives High Sheriffs Award for putting 'Families First' at HMP & YOI Doncaster

Published: 17 Jan 2012

Brenda Fraser, Serco's Family First Interventions Manager at HMP & YOI Doncaster has received a 'High Sheriffs Award' in recognition and appreciation of her innovative work with offenders and their families at the prison. The award, which recognises outstanding achievements within the local community, was presented by the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, Andrew J Coombe Esq. DL during a special ceremony at the prison.

Over the past 18 months, Brenda from Doncaster has worked tirelessly to improve relations between prisoners and their families. Her successful Families First programme helps fathers to develop and maintain ties with their families whilst in prison, something which has a proven affect on reducing the likelihood of prisoners reoffending. Brenda has introduced numerous innovative schemes which support offenders to maintain family relationships, including: Toddler Mornings; Treasure Box, an initiative to help fathers reconnect with their children through arts and craft; and Daddy Newborn classes to introduce fathers to babies born during their incarceration. HM Chief Inspector of Prisons described this work as "among the best I have seen" in his last inspection report.

Brenda has been so successful in introducing such schemes that maintaining family ties is now core priority work within the prison and a crucial element of the work being done to reduce re-offending as part of the Ministry of Justice's four-year 'payment by results' pilot recently introduced at Doncaster.

Commenting on her award, Brenda said: "I feel immensely proud to receive this recognition from the High Sheriff and will dedicate it to my impressive team for all their hard work. I hope 2012 will be as great as 2011 has been and I look forward to spreading the work we do in the prison into the community and reuniting families."

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The High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, Andrew J Coombe Esq. DL added: "To be confronted by a father and baby group in a Category B prison, at first takes some explaining. On reflection it is a stark reminder that the wives and children of prisoners are also the victims of crime. If this far seeing project aimed at helping establish relations between father and child, engenders family stability then there is likely to be longer term benefit for all members of the family and for society in general. Brenda Fraser and her team are to be congratulated for their ground breaking and innovative work."

Doncaster is a Category B local prison and remand centre, serving the courts in South and West Yorkshire, which can accommodate 1,145 male prisoners. Serco has run HMP & YOI Doncaster since it opened in June 1994. Serco successfully rebid the contract to continue running the prison for another ten years in August 2000, and again in March 2011 for a further 15 years. The current contract includes a four-year 'payment by results' pilot where, in a first for the UK prison sector, 10% of Serco's annual revenue will be contractually dependent on it achieving a five percentage point reduction in reconviction amongst offenders discharged from the prison in each year of the pilot.

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