Empowering Learning in offender rehabilitation

A few ye10.don't-slump_smallars ago, Olive Hickmott was approached by David Apparicio and Jackie Hewitt-Main separately, two entrepreneurs, whom had a passion for working with offenders in custody to give them a second chance in life. This is a brief review of the impact of their work and how Empowering LearningTM influenced their programmes.

Both had a vision to develop a holistic programme to be delivered in prisons
– David’s came from his experience as a magistrate who could see the potential in offenders, whilst Jackie’s’ was through her own challenges with Dyslexia and ADHD, her sons brain injury and being able to identify with offenders personal struggles. They identified the challenges facing offenders of low self-esteem, virtually no self-belief which led to a rigid fixed mindset and the majority struggling with numeracy and literacy, often as result of undiagnosed struggles with traditional learning and mental illness.

David, initially interested in Olive’s work on literacy, found her conceptual approach to the whole person and her techniques particularly around energetic NLP and visualisation to be powerful tools in unlocking mindsets of offenders. David brought together in his Chrysalis programme a range of management principles around leadership and incorporated Olive’s concepts.

The Chrysalis programme focus is on inspiring offenders to have goals, develop self-belief and to give them the techniques or route map to access their own talents to change their behaviour and fundamentally develop a growth mindset. Olive’s work, known as Empowering LearningTM, is around working with individuals to focus on their own abilities or talents and enabling them to use visualisation to create a new belief that they can change their life, has been the foundation of the programme. David has explored the neuroscience of trauma in formative years (which often offenders have experienced), whereby the brain development is significantly reduced and operates on rigid pathways. David’s programme utilising Olive’s techniques interrupts this pathway and retrains the brain in how to think. Once this foundation is established he builds on this by introducing leadership based techniques and being an inspirational speaker himself ignites motivation to change and stimulates self- belief.

Jackie’s creation of the Cascade Foundation also focuses on the whole person and her interest was around Olive’s work again on visualisation and numeracy and literacy skills. These techniques have been incorporated into the programme. Jackie’s real success has been around linking custody to the community and offering after-custody support to ex-offenders. Key has been Jackie’s ability to inspire individuals and always believing in each offender on her programme.

Both programmes are recognised as leaders in rehabilitation  as, at the core, is the change in mindset of each individual which ignites  strong  self-belief, leading to self- esteem and only then individuals are ready to learn anything.

Olive Hickmott (olive@empoweringlearning.co.uk) is open to other opportunities to offer these new skills to jumpstart literacy and numeracy, using mental imagery to other prisons and ex-offender groups.  They can dramatically improve diagnosed Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyspraxia ADHD, Asperger’s and Autism.

About olivehickmott

I am a Forensic Learning coach, showing people how they can improve their own learning and change their health. Working with creative neurodivergent students is a joy, as they learn new skills to overcome many of their learning challenges.
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4 Responses to Empowering Learning in offender rehabilitation

  1. Aparently Gove wants to improve literacy and numeracy in prison, how do we get him to listen to the merits of using mental imagery? This article says that 20-30% of offenders have learning difficulties. I have heard figures nearer 60%!


  2. Jane says:

    When I did my teacher training, research was showing 80% of prisoners had literacy & numeracy skills below that expected of a 10 year old. There is a massive correlation between the prison population and poor educational attainment.

  3. Thanks Jane, I hear this is most likely.

  4. My name’s Coralie Hobson and I live in Liverpool. I was inspired at the recent conference by the adult services group , amongst others. I’ve been working with children but I’m really interested in working with Adults through probation, probation and homelessness services. I’ve made initial connections with 3 linked local homelessness charities to pilot the project. Any advice would be useful. I have a Social Work Child Protection background and as such, I’ve worked with offenders and linked services.

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