Prison Digital Transition Working Group in Lisbon

Carl Mumford delivering a presentation in Lisbon on Neurodiversity, digitalisation and prison
Group of delegates in Lisbon who work in the prison system across Europe

Last week, between the 16th and 17th of May, Creased Puddle was invited to deliver a presentation on the intersection of neurodiversity and digitalisation in prisons. We flew to Lisbon to speak to members of prison services across Europe about considerations they can make for their neurodivergent staff and prisoners. Neurodiversity is an important consideration for the prison system, as neurodivergent conditions often go undetected. When neurodiversity training and a person-centered approach are first implemented, it can help provide the knowledge to recognise and support individuals more quickly.

The Digital Transition Working Group is co-funded by the European Union and hosted by International Prison Systems and the Beglian Ministry of Justice. The project’s aims are:

  • To give all prison staff – regardless of what they know or understand about digital technology – equality of access to digital competency training and thereby respond to a known professional development need and make the prison service an attractive employer.
  • To motivate staff to broaden their awareness of how digital systems can improve how effective a prison is, and how digital competencies can improve inmate’s chances of reintegration upon release.
  • The project idea is based on a concept of fairness amongst all citizens of all generations in the use and application of digital tools, and delivering flexible opportunities for VET.

Carl, one of our Neurodiversity Criminal Justice Consultants, delivered a presentation that helped the audience understand, from his lived experience, how the school-to-prison pipeline is impacted by neurodiversity. He covered the following areas of this discussion:

Prison, Digitalisation and Neurodiversity:

  • What Neurodiversity is
  • Executive function challenges
  • A person-centered approach to support and the strengths of neurodivergent people
  • How neurodivergent conditions are disproportionately represented in prison
  • Statistics of prevalence in prison
  • How understanding learning styles can change outcomes and break the school-to-prison pipeline
  • The impact of age and gender when considering neurodiversity
  • Neuro-inclusive prison design
  • How digitalisation can help us recognise and support prisoners and staff
  • Research from Dartmoor prison by Creased Puddle Consultant, Dr. Tanya Banfield
  • Good practices by Neurodiversity Support Managers and in HMP Pentonville to support neurodiversity

We were inspired by the great work that is taking place to deliver digital transformation in prisons. We held great conversations with the delegates and shared how important understanding Neurodiversity for reducing re-offending.

Our input was well received and we received comments which inspired us:

“We can go straight back to our prison and implement more support for neurodiversity. We are going to train our prisoners to support other neurodivergent prisoners.”

“We are going to look at implementing neurodiversity support within our AI projects.”

“There is place for this within our work with youths and we will be looking at expanding our knowledge of neurodiversity.”

This shows the incredible impact that talking about Neurodiversity can have, and how training is so important for both prisoners and staff. It can really change the direction of the criminal justice system and stop the school-to-prison pipeline. We are excited to assist partners of the DIGICOR Digital Transition Working Group
in integrating neurodiversity support into their work. If you would like to look at how Creased Puddle can support your work in the criminal justice system, please email [email protected].