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Give a voice to those who are marginalised in our society

Volunteer monitoring work with the IMB gives you the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives. You will listen to prisoners and people in immigration detention, talk to staff and see for yourself what is actually happening behind the walls.

What will I do as a volunteer?

You will make regular visits to prison or immigration detention facilities

After you have completed your induction period you will make around 2-3 visits a month and observe everything that goes on. You will see how staff relate to prisoners and those in detention, and what processes there are for supporting and rehabilitating individuals. You will have full access to the prison, from the wings to the segregation unit and the education centre.

Alex, IMB member shares his experience of a typical days monitoring in a women’s prison.

You will be the independent voice for someone who is trying to rebuild their life and ultimately be helping to create positive behavioural change
Charlie Ing, company director and Chair at HMP Deerbolt

You will hear directly from those in prison or immigration detention

You will  be able to communicate with any prisoner or detained person you wish to, out of sight or hearing from staff, so they can voice any concerns. These can be wide-ranging issues such as safety concerns, healthcare, their ability to access the programmes and activities they need, alleged discrimination, lost property, or access to visits from family or friends.

You will play an active role

You will have unrestricted access to these establishments and to everything that happens within them, including meetings, activities and records. Your observations and insights will provide a reality check on what is actually happening rather than what is supposed to be happening.

You will monitor what happens to prisoners or people in immigration detention who are segregated or separated from others. You may also be called in to observe serious incidents and record the way in which the situation is handled. Your observations are shared with the prison or immigration detention facility’s management team.

Findings and insights can be shared with other oversight bodies, such as the prisons’ inspectorate, as well as the prison service and the Home Office. They are also included in each prison and immigration detention facility’s annual report. They bring to light what needs attention as well as any progress that has been made.

Read annual reports and ministerial responses

Members of the IMB speak to everyone from the Governor of the prison to a prisoner being inducted on his first day. We notice things that sometimes others don’t and our members make a real difference week in, week out.
Keith, People and Recruitment Director, and Board member at HMP Brixton.

You will see how prisoners are helped to resettle into the community

You’ll be able to see whether there are programmes and courses that can help prisoners to turn their lives round.  You’ll also see how prisoners are helped to reintegrate back into society and their families, and to access housing and employment.

You will attend training and meetings

In the first nine to twelve months you will undergo new member training which will include shadowing experienced members of your local Board. You will also be allocated a mentor who will support you with your professional development.

Each Board holds a monthly meeting which the governor attends. This meeting usually takes place within working hours and members need to attend at least eight Board meetings a year.

It is important to note that during this induction period the required time commitment is likely to be higher than it is once you are a full member. You are more likely to be making 3-4 visits a month than 2-3.

Find volunteering vacancies

See if there’s a volunteering opportunity in a prison or immigration detention facility near you.

See current vacancies