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A positive prison link

ON COURSE FOR SUCCESS: Ricky Dehaney (front centre) with course students and Councillors Yvonne Mosquito (left) and Bob Jones.

LIFE WITHIN prison walls is a mystery to most people but a unique course has been designed to inform and educate the public on life behind bars.

The group pictured includes 20 of the latest students who have just completed a 10-week Basic Training in Prison Work course. The course is offered by Prison Link, an organisation funded by the Probation Service which helps to resettle offenders back into the community.

It is run in Birmingham by Prison Link chief executive officer Ricky Dehaney, who is also a broadcast assistant with the BBC.

The certificate presentation at Handsworth’s Community Hub marks a milestone for Dehaney as this latest batch of graduates would have helped him reach his 1000th student.

The presentation was made during a monthly meeting of the PNP group and was attended by Councillor Bob Jones from Wolverhampton, who is Labour’s candidate for the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s role in November. Also there was Yvonne Mosquito of Birmingham City Council and the district chair of Ladywood Constituency. She is aiming to become Jones’ deputy if he is elected.

The course, launched in 2004, offers valuable insight into the criminal justice system and is pursued by people from all walks of life who are interested in the prison service.

The latest graduates include well-known popular gospel star Witness, also known as Adrian Bourke.

School teacher Lisa Jayne Arscott, who has just completed the course, described her experience: “As a teacher I’ve always wanted to work in the prison service, so I found the course really useful, particularly when we visited two prisons."

“I now hope to change my career direction and teach in prison. There is a lot of stigma attached to being an offender, but this course helps you see beyond all that.”

Ben Cunningham, who chairs the Jamaican Diaspora UK, said Dehaney had been an inspiration, adding that “he is determined and resolute and his course has been one of the most successful in Birmingham.”

The next course starts on September 4. For further information contact 0121 551 7984 or 07949 203 280

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