What role do kindness, hope and compassion play in the criminal justice system? – Book chapter contribution by Deborah Murphy

Date: 05 February 2021

humane justice

When the Monument Fellowship put out a call for extracts for a book about the role of kindness, hope and compassion in the criminal justice system, Deborah Murphy, Wellbeing Centre Manager and Lead Occupational Therapist (OT) at HMP Pentonville, felt this was an ideal opportunity to showcase the work of occupational therapists within the justice system. 

She has contributed a chapter on how creating compassionate environments within a prison can influence behaviour change, based on her creation of the award-winning wellbeing centre within HMP Pentonville (read more about the centre in Issue 7 of Trust Matters, pages 13-15).

Deborah says: “The root of many of the men’s difficulties is relational, so whilst we are supporting them to learn many of the traditional life skills that occupational therapists are interested in, throughout our group work we place significant emphasis on values around how we relate to each other within the environment. We have worked hard to create a physical and social environment in which more humane relationships can flourish within what can be an otherwise very stark environment.”

The title of the chapter is based on the feedback from a service user who referred to the service as “a peaceful oasis in an otherwise unforgiving desert”, emphasising the contrast in what the OT team have created to that of general prison life. 

Humane Justice is the fourth in a series of books curated by the Monument Fellowship: a collaboration of eight organisations within the voluntary sector who aim to make a sustained, cumulative and transformative change to the journey of individuals through our justice system.

The e-book which launched this week is available for free download here: https://www.khulisa.co.uk/resources/humane-justice

Deborah was also recently approached to contribute to the new edition of one of the most popular occupational therapy textbooks, so watch this space for more details in due course! 

  • Summary:

    When the Monument Fellowship put out a call for extracts for a book about the role of kindness, hope and compassion in the criminal justice system, Deborah Murphy, Wellbeing Centre Manager and Lead Occupational Therapist at HMP Pentonville, felt this was an ideal opportunity to showcase the work of occupational therapists within the justice system.