Case Studies

Ignition introduces MI to Northern Ireland prisons

Ignition introduces MI to Northern Ireland prisons

When Jackie Bates-Gaston, Chief Psychologist for the Northern Ireland Prison Service needed high-quality, consistent training in Motivational Interviewing for her staff, there was only one provider to turn to.

With a solid reputation in the application of Motivational Interviewing to criminal justice contexts, and the added value of the company director, Dr. Mark Farrall being a Forensic Psychologist, ignition were commissioned to deliver From Pre-Contemplation to Exit: Motivational Interviewing for all stages of the cycle of change, to mixed groups of main grade wing officers and psychologists.

Jackie commented: "It was wonderful in the first lot of training to see arms uncrossing in the room as Officers saw the sense of it, and that it wasn't just 'care bears' but something practical and useful to their jobs".

100% of trainees rated themselves as either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘totally satisfied’ with the training, feeling it was either ‘very relevant’ or totally relevant’ to their job roles.

Comments from participants included:

  • “Very enjoyable and delivered by two excellent facilitators. Would thoroughly recommend for ordinary staff in all departments”
  • “A good course, which should be introduced to all staff and grades within the Northern Ireland Prison Service”
  • “Just to say thank you for a truly enjoyable but also incredibly beneficial training event. It is not often I would feel positive about training but on both the usefulness of the training and the enjoyment – I think it was fab. Thank you!”

2009 update
When the Northern Ireland Service was about to receive its first cohort of Psychology Assistants into the prisons, Jackie turned to ignition again to equip these young, newly graduated staff members with a core model of communications and core skills for engagement and the facilitation of change through Motivational Interviewing.

100% of these trainees rated themselves as ‘very’ or ‘totally’ satisfied’ and 100% would ‘definitely’ recommend the training to colleagues. Comments included:

  • “Would have been helpful to have MI earlier in training schedule as explained a lot of questions I had”
  • ”Fantastic course”
  • “Felt the course was delivered very effectively and I felt I gained a lot of useful skills from it. Everything was very clear and concise”

Jackie said: "Hardly any of the Assistants had even been in a prison before - they now have a chance to respond effectively and develop effective working relationships which will make all the psychological inputs more meaningful"