J I L L P A L M E R
I began my working life as a nurse. After a diversion by way of managing a music shop I became homecare coordinator for the London Borough of Croydon, in the days before it was outsourced. I then became a care manager in Croydon’s physical disabilities team. Croydon funded me to achieve my DipSW; I’m now a social worker. I moved to Yorkshire in 2006, and now work for Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council.
I have had a varied career; I have also worked as a hospital social worker, in a mental health team, an adults community team, HiV social worker and currently with disabled prisoners.
I chose Dalek because …
… to me it exemplifies the Social Model of Disability, or for the layman If You Get the Environment Right it Minimizes the Problems.
The biggest problem we face in our prisons is that most are not adapted for disabled people; the cell doors are too narrow for wheelchairs, there are no accessible showers, it can be difficult to get grab rails or a raised toilet seat, and there are stairs EVERYWHERE with no lifts. Hence the Dalek. It also epitomizes the frustrations – of the job, of still having to have these arguments, of the Care Act being introduced with no thought about what adaptations are needed to prisons, of working with people who “don’t agree with disabled prisoners getting special treatment”.
 A Dalek is a creation from the BBC science fiction programme, Dr Who. All-powerful though this monster is, in the classic series it couldn’t go up stairs – so escape was relatively easy if you weren’t in a bungalow! (In the modern Dr Who series the Daleks can now levitate.)