The training for female ex-offenders becoming peer mentors is designed to support individuals in learning necessary mentoring skills within an organisation’s model and framework. The training programme is also designed to support ex-offenders towards gaining essential employability and learning skills, including professionalism, commitment, concentration and time management.
Providing training to mentors increases their responsibility; a responsibility of trust that many have been stripped of through the Criminal Justice System. Training is an excellent opportunity to empower women; through using their own experiences to inform their knowledge and skills. Organisations supporting female offenders may wish to offer mentors training in areas such as:
- Women in the Criminal Justice System
- Gender specific approach
- Communicating with women
- Impact of gender on needs
- Impact of needs on gender
Don’t be afraid to ask the women what works best and doesn’t work best. As the relation theory tells us, women are motivated to learn from others and move forward in relationships. Women enjoy the opportunity to take part in discussion with the group and often discussion can be a positive experience for women who shy away from sharing opinions or speaking in a group setting.
Best Practice Guide
- This may be the first opportunity in a long time where they are in a structured learning environment. Be aware of learning needs around time management, concentration, literacy, writing skills and group work etiquette.
- Be aware of any external or outside barriers to their learning such as childcare, family responsibilities, travel costs (even if you are reimbursing following their travel).
- Explore the learner's own ideas of gender stereotypes and how their values and beliefs may reinforce gender stereotypes ie. explore the topic of motherhood
- Teach learners to ask the 'tough' questions around domestic abuse, self harm, prostition
- Teach learners to speak openly about confidence and self esteem