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South East

HMP Swaleside

Service delivered in prison
Swaleside is a Category B prison within the Sheppey Cluster located on Isle of Sheppey, Kent. We deliver substance misuse services (psychosocial and clinical) at this prison.

How we help

We offer a range of psychosocial and clinical interventions to help clients address their substance misuse.

  • Substance Dependency Treatment Programme (SDTP) – an intensive, abstinence-based programme which aims to reduce reoffending
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) – a directive, person-centered approach to therapy that focuses on improving an individual’s motivation to change
  • Fellowships – we co-facilitate Alcoholics, Narcotics and Cocaine Anonymous (AA, NA, CA) meetings
  • Clinical services – including opiate substitute therapy (OST) and detoxification


Further interventions
  • General welfare checks
  • Psychoactive substance drop-ins
  • We offer a wide range of standalone workshops and in-cell packs aimed at harm minimisation, risk reduction, and relapse prevention
  • We also offer a range of holistic therapies including auricular acupuncture (acupuncture of the ears) and aromatherapy sessions to help people’s sleep, stress levels and detoxification.

At Swaleside, we have a designated recovery wing where we try to promote a therapeutic community effect. We have team building sessions in cooperation with the gym, and pre-Covid the men on the recovery wing were training to participate in a sponsored marathon.

We have also just started a new intervention, our ‘Step Back’ group, which looks at ways of addressing anger and violence.

To the wider prison community, we offer recovery skills workshops – a group of workshops we run as a lower intervention course, looking at different aspects of recovery including triggers, anger, relationships, new psychoactive substances, honesty and denial. We run the same groups in the more vulnerable wings that are isolated from the general population, offering an inclusive service.

We are very lucky to have our own therapy dog (Poppy) who helps service users relax and has proven very popular with service users and staff.

In the pipeline, we have recovery film clubs, and a garden in which service users can grow their own fruit and vegetables. We are also working to incorporate voluntary drug testing into the regime; it helps give service users a feeling of accomplishment to regularly produce clean tests.


During the induction process, our information, advice and guidance (IAG) advisors help residents to identify career types and roles best matched to their interests and skills. Based on this information, as well as their prior education, work experience, strengths and areas for development, we then devise an action plan tailored to each resident. We work through the action plan with them in a follow up one-to-one, either face-to-face or using the in-cell phone system.

Working alongside the New Futures Network and other partners, we support residents or learners with their job or apprenticeship search, CV preparation and applications. We also provide disclosure advice and interview practice for residents leaving prison.

Our IAG advisors work closely with other prison teams and our partners in the community to identify the right education courses, distance learning and workshops for our learners.

Our partners

  • Porchlight
  • Relate
  • Rubicon
  • PIPE (Psychologically Informed Planned Environment)
  • Psychology Department
  • In-reach
  • Local pharmacies – to arrange substitute medication for service users on weekend or permanent release
  • Forward East Kent community hubs
  • Forward Recovery Support
  • Residential rehabs – Forward at The Bridges in Hull, Steps2Recovery, Kairos, Nehemiah
  • New Futures Network

How to refer

Any prison resident can self-refer to the services. We also accept referrals from third parties. If a staff member or third party refers a resident we will assess the resident if they agree to engage. All residents are seen as part of their induction, in which we explain the services and they can choose whether or not to engage.

Get in touch

Substance misuse

Call us: 01795 804100

Other sources of help

Online chat

Get confidential advice and support from our friendly team.

Get support

When I was released from prison, Forward continued to support me and my recovery and I even went on to do a bit of volunteering with them.

Nick L, Former Forward client Read Nick’s story