Recovery from the inside out

3rd October 2018

Holly Hendry, SRN Network Officer in the North of Scotland, blogs about taking part in Recovery Walk Scotland at HMP Inverness.

Recovery from the inside out: a symbolic statement that I feel emphasises the role of recovery focused opportunities within the prison environment.

I recently attended the Recovery Walk held at HMP Inverness. This prison was one of 13 Scottish prisons taking part in a recovery walk on the 14th of September 2018 inside their own grounds. Representation from the prison would also attend the national walk in Glasgow the following day along with 3000 people from across Scotland.

At HMP Inverness we came together with other local partners, stakeholders, staff and residents interested in the walk and what it represents; a celebration of recovery in the prisons and what I would describe as collective action to raise awareness and promote recovery as a reality.

The day itself involved a walk, the opportunity to connect and network with others while feeling connected to the wider network around the recovery walk and what it symbolises. The theme this year being Together We Flourish, with an emphasis on bringing both addictions and mental health recovery communities together. There was a powerful sharing from a local man who spoke from a heartfelt place about his own experiences, the role of recovery in his life and where it has taken him to today.

Photo by Recovery Walk Scotland

For me this day felt significant. Within the imaginable limitations of such an environment there are many compassionate people who care, love and want to see change in people’s lives. The impact of recovery orientated approaches, practices and opportunities within the prison were definitely evident. Something I feel is so important.

I spoke to other people that day who worked directly within the prison delivering programmes focused on employability, education, learning and skills development all using creative and meaningful approaches. On reflection what stands out for me is the role of inclusion and social inclusion in supporting individuals who are part of this system.

On the 14th of September we focused on celebration. Celebrating that recovery is possible for people who have been through the justice system. With compassionate people, collaborative projects and opportunities we can provide meaningful ways to make recovery real for everyone in every community.

Holly Hendry
Network Officer (North), Scottish Recovery Network