Safe Ground uses drama and other creative activities to help male prisoners better understand their role as parents
Having strong relationships with family and friends plays a crucial role in rehabilitating people after their release from prison. Helping to nurture this is Safe Ground, a charity that supports men in prison to develop or rebuild their personal relationships with partners, parents or children.
Jon, pictured above with his ex-partner Charlotte, is a graduate of Fathers Inside, a programme run by Safe Ground, which uses drama and other creative activities to help participants better understand their role as parents.
According to research, participants of the programme are 40 per cent less likely to reoffend than the average.
Jon is a father of three: two sons and a daughter. “Being honest with [daughter] Pearl has paid dividends, not just to our relationship but to hers with my mum and her brothers, too,” he said.
The above image, taken while Jon was on day release, eight weeks before his release from prison, is part of a photographic project about fatherhood and masculinity, to mark the 25th anniversary of Safe Ground.
I put my life under a microscope and realised how much I have to change to have a positive impact
The project also saw Jon speaking honestly about his relationships with his mother as a child, and the view of masculinity he had growing up. Opening up about this topic is one of the hardest things he has ever done, he said.
Jon is determined not to be defined by his sentence. “I put my actions, thoughts and life under a microscope and came to realise how much I have to change to have a positive impact on my life and those in it,” he said, adding that the programme has “got me in touch with emotions I haven’t felt for ages”.
Of his wife, from whom he is now separated, he says: “Charlotte saved my life 25 years ago. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Image: Gaia Visual