Naomi Tomes, HMP Bullingdon Prison Officer, on her placement with the 3Pillars team

Naomi Tomes, a prison officer at HMP Bullingdon, joined 3Pillars project on placement for two weeks as part of her progression on the Unlocked Graduate scheme. Collaboration and knowledge sharing across the sectors is so key to our work here at 3Pillars, and we were thrilled to welcome Naomi to the team. Here is Naomi on her experience here:

My normal workday sees me in HMPS Bullingdon, I am a prison officer on the Unlocked graduate scheme. I have spent my last 2 weeks working alongside the charity 3Pillars Project. They support those same men that I do in prison and those that are in that crucial yet vulnerable ‘through the gate’ period when they have just been released.

It is so encouraging to see 3Pillars as a safe space where they can progressively develop themselves in a stable and supportive environment. These young men are given positive male and female role models, in the form of mentors, other employees, coaches, professional sportsmen and a whole community that is open-minded, progressive and dynamic.

During my time with 3Pillars I had the pleasure of observing one of the 3Pillars coaches run a fitness session with some young men on ROTL[Release on Temporary License] from HMPYOI Feltham. This coach had spent time in various prison establishments over a period of five years and therefore had the advantage of lived experience in the prison system. I believe that this enabled the young men from HMPYOI Feltham to feel more at ease with and relate more easily to the coach. An extremely powerful advantage - the coach was a living, approachable example of what is possible if you are willing to make a change and turn away from negative and criminal behaviours.

The coach was a calm and collected role-model. This had tremendous positive impact on the

young men he was coaching. We often forget that young men in the criminal justice system are still learning and transitioning into adulthood. It was encouraging to see the coach encourage their playful and childlike nature but with an aspect of discipline and physical encouragement to push themselves. The opportunity for those young boys to spend time with a relatable, but positive male role model had evident im