Probationary – the game of life on licence

Probationary – the game of life on licence


Today at Oxford University Keble College
we’re sharing a game that we made with men on licence called ‘Probationary
– The Game of Life on
Licence’ and celebrating the partnership between FACT,
Liverpool John Moores and the Howard League for Penal Reform. In 60 hours I ran workshops with the men, the academics and probation officers to think about how to encapsulate their experiences as a game. Research shows that the arts can bring about a difference in somebody,
can have increased wellbeing, increased mental health. In the game of life, you don’t get to choose who you are. I just thought it was a brilliant way of vividly bringing alive the ups and downs of life on supervision. I was kind of winning, and then I just had
to go back to the beginning, and go back to prison, and it was gutting. These things that happen to the players are completely random, which I’m sure reflects reality. This is a different way of challenging
policy and practice and public perceptions, and I’m quite excited by the opportunity that this methodology might provide. The most interesting thing for me
is all the conversations that happen while different people play the game
– and they’re always different. It brought out a discussion about
what it’s like for people going through licence. It might be able to impact upon the way
we do things in probation, the way we treat people on probation, in a way that standard academic research practice might not do. Hope there’s a future for ‘Probationary’ to continue to develop and to have an impact upon public policy and public attitudes. It makes people feel some of those things that people in this system are feeling. If we can begin to work differently and begin to think differently about these problems that’s the first step to seeking to effect change.

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