What is TC?


The Therapeutic Community (TC) at HMP Dovegate is a purpose built 200 bed facility with four 40 bed Communities, a 20 bed Induction Unit and a 20 bed TC+ for those with learning disabilities/low IQ.


The TC is a long term, accredited intervention aimed at reducing risk related to offending. TCs are based on the idea that people living together and belonging to a community are able to change through their interpersonal experiences of each other. There are formal therapy groups each day but therapy is happening all of the time, all day every day, not just during the group meetings.


All aspects of life on the community are designed to enable personal growth and are open for discussion. HMP Dovegate is a Democratic TC which means that all members of the community (staff and prisoners) have a say in the running of the community and are involved in the decision making for their community.


Prisoners are known as residents in the TC and are encouraged to build positive relationships with staff as well as other residents.


Prisoners have to have motivation to change. TC is NOT an easy option…


“If someone is thinking of applying for TC they should think about it long and hard. They need to know how difficult it is gonna be. They need to be mentally prepared for it” Resident A.


The minimum time required to participate in TC is 24 months. Prisoners will spend a period of time (up to 8 weeks) on the Induction Unit where they will become more familiar with the ethos of a therapeutic community. Assessment then takes place on a community and lasts for between 8-12 weeks. If TC is found to be a suitable intervention for the individual, he will remain on that community, If not he will return to his sending establishment.


“My time on the TC has helped me to take full responsibility for my actions leading up to and during my index offence. By taking responsibility, it has enabled me to look at the dysfunctional and scared person I was and the way I used to deal with the day to day stresses of life and relationships. This has helped me to make changes to the way I deal with all relationships. Hopefully, if I’m given a second chance and released the skills that I have learned on the TC will help me on release” Resident E.