Lily Pattison interned with the Scottish Prison Service for 4 months in the Equality and Diversity Team. Lily details below about what it was like to work at the Scottish Prison Service, what her internship included and the adjustments that made it a great place to work!
Working at the Scottish Prison Service over the last few months has been an absolutely fantastic experience that has done immeasurable amounts of good for my future. Having just left school but being too ill to go to university away from home this internship was the lifeline I needed to make productive use of my year out while I waited for my operation that would allow me to live independently and study away from home.
Working for the Scottish Prison Service with an impairment is fantastic; I would like to echo the thoughts of Ross who interned at Scottish Government in Glasgow when he said “Flexi-time [is something] I would rank up there with the internet in terms of the greatest inventions”. At SPS Flexi-time is used by the whole of my building making it the norm, meaning there is no stigma at all for coming into to work late because you were feeling ill and working slightly later in the next week to make up for it. For me this translated into working full days when I felt well (even though my contract was only 9-4) so I could disappear off for hospital appointments when required without missing work. My boss Vince, was also particularly helpful in ensuring I was always feeling comfortable and well. As well as putting reasonable adjustments in place such as a 30-hour week to prevent me getting too fatigued and allowing me a period of leave to recover after my operation.
Disability stuff aside, the actual job was incredibly interesting, exciting and rewarding. The biggest question people have is ‘do you actually work in the prison?’ the answer to that is no. The internships at SPS are based in HQ as opposed to in the establishments (prison) however, you have plenty of opportunities to visit various prisons and my trip to HMP Barlinnie was one of the highlights of my internship.
The internship was structured 70% work and 30% learning. In terms of work I took part in a range of projects from redesigning the team website all by myself to carrying out full Audits of our Equality and Human Right Impact Assessments to ensure SPS were fully compliant with Government Regulation. It felt great to be doing real work and to see how my contributions were benefitting the wider organisation; it was particularly rewarding to see my new website being used and making things much easier for people to find. I applied for this job because it matched my own interests therefore, it was exciting to be doing projects that enthused me personally such as creating a report on the link between poverty/multiple deprivation and offending. Additionally, I enjoyed learning more about LGBT issues and having my input heard; I particularly enjoyed learning more about the transgender prison population. In terms of learning I got to take part in a Scottish Mental Health First Aid Course, attend various committees and events such as the Pride in Justice launch, as well as shadowing various departments and organisations (even spending a day at Inclusion Scotland) to learn more.
Overall the experience was incredible and extremely rewarding; not only will this internship shine on my CV for years to come but I will always cherish the memories I have made over the last few months here.