The woman who volunteers to treat addiction in prison - with no officers in the room

"I see a difference every day": Natalie Logan, from the Sisco Recovery Cafe, tells ITV News how the recovery programme is delivering life changing results

Natalie Logan MacLean works in Barlinnie - Scotland’s biggest, oldest, and toughest prison. 

Her work is with people who want to recover from drugs. Nobody makes them attend her Recovery Cafe; nobody is punished if they miss it.

Those who attend want to be there because they want to get better.

It is unique in two regards: her charity, SISCO, is not funded by the Scottish Government. She does it because she wants to help and she believes she can.

And second, she operates on the condition no prison officers are allowed inside the room.

Natalie has told us, in her words, about her work and why she does it.

Inside Barlinnie: Peter Smith goes inside Scotland's biggest prison and given exclusive access to how it's tackling the problem of inmates struggling with addiction

"Our recovery café in Barlinnie has been in operation since 2016.

"Over the years we have started to see the importance of a peer led approach within a prison environment. The purpose is to empower people.

"When we set the charity up my main objective throughout the constitution was to embed the importance of lived experience staff members and volunteers because, in my opinion, the people who truly understand what ‘rock bottom’ feels like are those who have been there and survived.

"The café operates using a ‘whole person’ approach and what that means is we address the many complexities that drive people into addiction.

"Addiction isn’t about using drugs, alcohol, gambling or sex, it’s a coping strategy and a way to escape the reality that individuals cannot face without the comfort of a substance.

"Getting clean and sober is the easiest part of recovery; maintaining a drug and alcohol-free life comes with many challenges. 

"To deal with addiction we must address our past and this comes with great pain and discomfort. 

"More than 78% of our client group score 7 or higher in the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) questionnaire and we now understand from research that childhood trauma is one the biggest contributing factors to addiction. 

"Our staff and volunteers operate using a trauma informed approach to prevent us from re traumatising our clients during our support sessions.

"The role of the café is to offer men a safe environment to address the physical, emotional, mental, occupational and social needs. It’s about changing while in prison and building a relationship with the mentors who can continue that support upon release. 

"The importance of the café is for men to begin to demonstrate a change in pro social behaviours and develop tools to help them maintain their recovery, this preventing (re)offending in the long term.

"Some of the main benefits we now see from our work is the demand for the community support because these guys want to continue with the progress they have made in their recovery and in changing their lives. 

"And if you’re wondering: SISCO stands for Sustainable Interventions Supporting Change Outside."