Magilligan staff “thinking outside the box” to support vulnerable prisoners

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Friday, October 16th, 2020

Magilligan prison staff have developed a unique box of puzzles and activities for prisoners showing signs of anxiety, distress and agitation.


Magilligan staff "thinking outside the box" to support vulnerable prisoners - Newry headlines


The HIS (Help I’m Struggling) Box contains drawing and art activities, Rubix cube, tumbling tower block and stress ball, as well as crosswords, origami and papercrafts, yoga relaxation pack and information leaflets about mental health and mindfulness.



“The puzzles and activities are simply to take the prisoner’s mind off whatever is troubling them,” explains Kirsty Brolly, Senior Officer at Magilligan and whose idea it was to introduce the HIS Box for vulnerable prisoners in her care.

“Prisoners of all ages can struggle with many issues – in prison as well as what’s happening on the outside, very often involving family,” Kirsty says.

“And this can lead to anxiety and distress.


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“When we let the prisoner have the HIS Box it calms them, helps them refocus or provides a timely diversion until mental health and health care teams can provide professional support.



“I’ve already had quite a few prisoners tell me how therapeutic it is and a pleasant recreational distraction,” she adds.

Magilligan Governor Richard Taylor commented, “The Prison Service is about supporting all of those in our care and especially at times when they feel their world is closing in around them.



“The HIS Box is a simple idea but it covers all vulnerabilities and has been well received, especially during the Covid pandemic when prisoners have been somewhat restricted in work, education and even gym use,” he adds.

To learn more about the HIS Box click here.



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