It is not every day you will see a dozen prisoners dancing in the jail.

The dance was the culmination of a six-week recovery programme designed to reduce dependence on alcohol or drugs.

At the end of the School of Recovery course, in Low Moss jail, the men spoke freely about “hope” and “change” after learning to open up to other people.

Sisco, a Glasgow-based recovery and rehabilitation group, delivers the programme, focusing on addiction and alternative coping methods, in the Small Beans Café hub at the prison near Glasgow.

The men, who struggle with alcohol or drugs, shared how much the course is helping them.

The Glasgow Times was given an exclusive look inside a meeting, where attendees spoke of the impact it had on their lives.

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One prisoner said: "I’ve been in here for six years and I have now been sober for 10 days, which is the longest period of time since I was committed.

“If we had something like this on the outside, I would have never touched drugs.”

Another man said: “I am very grateful for this group, that you are giving us time. There is respect here and compassion. You treat us like normal human beings.

“I came here in September and I thought I could not do this. I didn’t want to get clean in my life.

“But what this place does, it gave me something and I felt that I can do this."

The inmates gather at the Small Beans cafe once a week to go over the last seven days and encourage each other to stay clean.

Aged from twenty-somethings to men in their 50s, they had a common goal, to be free of the chains of addiction and rebuild relationships to help them when they are released.

One participant said: “I started this two years ago and if it wasn’t for here, I would be lying in my bed steaming.

“It is nice to not get treated like junkie b******s.

“Years ago, I would have never sat here and talked in front of all these people."

Another man said: "I learned hope here. Many guys are closed books and we keep things in and end up exploding.

"Just being here and listening to the stories helps you out a little bit."

Glasgow Times: Katie Yuile, health improvement practitioner with the NHS, Kevin Carberry, recovery co-ordinator at HMP Low Moss, Natalie Logan, CEO and founder of SISCO and volunteers, Gillian and and KirstyKatie Yuile, health improvement practitioner with the NHS, Kevin Carberry, recovery co-ordinator at HMP Low Moss, Natalie Logan, CEO and founder of SISCO and volunteers, Gillian and and Kirsty (Image: Colin Mearns)

Another explained the impact the sessions had on him, stating: “I used to keep things to myself. I was abused as a wee boy. I was nine years old. I held that in for years.

"Ten years ago, I would never have told anyone that. It’s good to get it out instead of worrying about it every night.”

Going around the group they shared their thoughts in turn.

Another man said: “Talking like this, I would never have done it. All I can control is me. I’m a lot calmer and more resilient instead of being a coiled spring.”

The next participant said: “I’ve learned to open up, and to be more open to listening to other people.”

Awareness of others was also raised, as one said: “I see the difference in others and I see the difference in myself.”

Another gave his thoughts: “Hope is a big word. We are closed books and keep it all in and end up exploding.”

“The jail is changing. You wouldn’t get this 10 years ago. It is unusual to see this in a jail. I hope this goes through all the jails.”

“I’ve learned acceptance of myself. If you don’t care for yourself, how can you care about others.”

They are supported by volunteers from SISCO (Sustainable Interventions Supporting Change Outside) and Low Moss recovery co-ordinator Kevin Carberry.

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Glasgow Times: Natalie Logan McLeanNatalie Logan McLean (Image: Colin Mearns, Newsquest)

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Natalie Logan McLean, founder and CEO of Sisco, spoke openly about her experience with substance abuse to help the group open up.

She said: “There was a time I used to think 'I cannot go to this meeting without Valium', I couldn’t go 10 minutes sober.

"For 20 years, I swam against the system and drowned so I have learned to swim with it.

"We are fighting for a less punitive system, a better system for you boys."

She explained the sessions the men work through.

First, they look at their goals when they were a child, then move on to re-programming and think about how can they achieve those goals.

The next stage is to recreate that version of themselves, which can include re-establishing contact with family.

A huge part of the programme is being able to speak “judgement-free” about what they feel.

Natalie said: “The next generation needs to challenge toxic masculinity.”

She told the men the end of the course can be the beginning of a new, more hopeful chapter in their lives.

She said: “You instil more hope in me than I do in you.

“You give me the determination to go out and fight for a better system.

“Not one of you went to school with a desire to go to prison. You can complete this, your past doesn’t need to define you.

“I’m very privileged that you guys share with us. We are transforming lives.

“If you want a bit of help, work with the system, not against it. Learn to swim with it.  It can all start from here.”

A Scottish Prison Service spokesperson, said: “The mental health and wellbeing of those who live in our establishments is a key priority for the SPS. 

"We are grateful for our partners, such as SISCO, who work within our prisons, delivering courses that impact positively on those in our care."