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Local Prison Psychologist receives Royal recognition 

Published: 13 Mar 2017

The outstanding achievements of Yvette Bates, a Senior Forensic Psychologist at HMP Dovegate, were honoured when she received a Butler Trust Commendation from Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal recently at St James’s Palace in London.

Yvette was one of a select number of prison employees from across the UK who were recognised with the prestigious award, following her nomination for her outstanding work with autistic prisoners.  

Over the years Yvette has worked at HMP Dovegate, which is managed by Serco for the Ministry of Justice, she has worked resolutely and consistently to address the needs of prisoners on the autistic spectrum and she has helped the prison as a whole to understand the issues faced by these offenders with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the impact it has on prison life. 

Today all new custodial staff at HMP Dovegate receive the training that Yvette has developed in ASD awareness and every prisoner arriving at the prison is screened for autism traits and where appropriate, a formal treatment pathway is developed for them. 

As a result of her work and the associated research she has undertaken, Yvette has spoken and presented at a number of national forums on autism and HMP Dovegate has recently been accepted onto the new Autism Accreditation in Prisons scheme.   

John Hewitson, Serco’s Contract Director at HMP Dovegate, said: “With the increased knowledge and skills that the staff at HMP Dovegate now have, ASD offenders are not penalised for their condition and staff know when they can ask for further help and guidance.  We are all very proud of Yvette and her dedication and commitment has resulted in the prison making huge progress in understanding and helping prisoners on the autistic spectrum.”

Simon Shepherd, Director of the Butler Trust, said: “In her annual Christmas Day address, The Queen spoke about the cumulative impact of ‘ordinary people doing extraordinary things’. That’s exactly what the Butler Trust Awards are for, and they are an important reminder that, behind the negative headlines, are some remarkable people doing an exceptional job, every day, on behalf of the people in their charge and the public they serve.”

Speaking about Yvette Bates, the Chair of the Awarding Panel, Sir Michael Harrison said: “Yvette Bates has been pioneering work with offenders with autism, as a Senior Forensic Psychologist at HMP Dovegate. People like Yvette are at the forefront of developing and sharing new approaches and expertise. Not only has she had a deep impact at Dovegate, she’s also informed Government thinking, and her work has been shared at high profile conferences and forums both at home and abroad.”