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I am

Self-expression Journey

MA 2022
Self-expression, Trust Building, Social Relationships

“I am” is a packaged programme aligned with a pilot led by our collaborator, Catch22, which encourages people on probation (POP) to be aware of and express themselves for their stable emotion conditions and better relationships with others. It delivers a guidance leaflet for helping navigator mentors from Catch22 to build trust with the POP and facilitate the programme.


Catch 22 leads a pilot programme supported by the Ministry of Justice, which features tailored intervention by navigator mentors to people on probation in order to reduce the number of prison leavers returning to custody again.

This service proposition is designed for one of the implementations in the programme.


The issues in being recalled to get back into custody in England and Wales

A custodial (prison) sentence is one of the most severe punishments for those who committed a crime in England and Wales. If a person received a sentence for a crime, he/she would have to get into custody at first, but not necessarily have to spend the whole time in custody. As for the latter half of the sentence period, the person could likely be in the community on ‘license’ conditions under supervision by probation officers. Once breaking these conditions, they will face the risk of being recalled and getting into custody again. However, the main reason to be recalled is non-compliance with licence conditions unrelated to the increased risk of reoffending.


POP’s difficulties in re-building social relationships - Emotion Awareness and Communication Skills

As the main source of information for the research, we conducted interviews with three main stakeholder groups, people on probation (POP), probation officers and navigator mentors from Catch22. We used various co-creation methods during interviews, such as ‘One Day in Your Life’ and ‘Body Map’ to do ice-breaking and create a more interactive environment for interviewees to engage with, which brought us lots of POP’s real thoughts and deep insights.

For the research outcome, we found that social relationships are the key to keeping people on probation away from reoffending. However, they may meet some difficulties when re-building their social networks, which could be reflected in two ways, an internal perspective about their emotion awareness, and an external one about their communication skills.


How might we empower POP to express themselves to build positive relationships & engage more in the pilot?


I am - Self-expression journey

Combined with the previous research, to solve the problems we framed, possible services should follow the cognitive and expressive processes of the human being. During this process, trust-building between people on probation (POP) and navigator mentors is significant to help POP move from self-awareness to self-expression. In addition, trust-building should accompany the whole process.

Our solution, “I am”, is a packaged program for the Catch22’s pilot, encouraging POP to be aware of and express themselves by building trust with navigator mentors for their stable emotional conditions and better relationships with others.

It delivers a guidance leaflet for navigator mentors to understand and use our approach in practice, demonstrating the main steps for them to follow and how this helps POP make progress.


Re-building better social relationships by self-expressing in the current probation system

The programme consists of four parts; self-awareness, trust-building, self-expression and progress reflection, which align with stages in the pilot.

In the self-awareness stage, people on probation (POP) discover themselves well through writing down their experiences; it also helps navigator mentors understand who the POP is and their real needs. In the trust-building stage, both gain each other’s trust by delivering on promises. This makes the POP more willing to self-express and gives them stronger motivation to participate in activities. During the self-expression stage, the POP shows their daily lives using Instagram short videos. This helps the navigator mentors understand the POP’s personality and their realities, which leads to better communication between them. Finally, in the progress reflection stage, the POP looked back on positive memories with their families and friends during the pilot by watching their posts. This reflection can benefit future pilots.

In the current journey, POP are always being told what they should do following the instructions from the probation officer. This programme could provide channels for POP to express their feelings and also their hope with the help of navigator mentors to get positive feedback and support from the probation system.


We would like to express our deepest appreciation to whom had involved in the design process; our project tutor Judah Armani, who encouraged and guided us throughout the whole design journey; our project partner Naomi from Catch22, who brought their team altogether with us and worked collaboratively; our project interviewees, in-house record artists, navigator mentors and probation officers, who shared their real-life experience with us for this project.