Beyond Youth Custody


When Sarah didn’t come down to the prison resettlement office to talk to the project worker, the project worker went to find her on the landing. Sarah was shy, but they had a chat in the dining room on her wing. She hadn’t heard of the services that were being offered to her, but she was about to be released and agreed to meet a mentor in the community. Sarah said she’d be in touch.

Via Sarah’s probation officer, project staff contacted Sarah after her release, and arranged to meet her at the probation office. Sarah seemed unsure as to whether she really wanted support, but she formed a tentative relationship with her mentor, and they met a couple of times.

Sarah’s mentor found it difficult to maintain contact with Sarah. She seemed more interested in keeping fit than meetings, and she was always in dance classes. Sarah’s mentor asked her if she would like company in the classes. They started attending together regularly, and Sarah taught her mentor how to get the most out of the sessions.

Trust developed slowly. Sarah had been let down frequently in the past and, as a result of previous negative experiences, appeared to be suspicious of any help that her mentor offered.

Sarah’s mentor helped Sarah build a CV. She works with her on job and grant applications. Together, they managed to secure the necessary finances to get Sarah smart clothes for work. They also secured a grant towards music lessons, and Sarah has joined a community group doing music and drama.

Sarah has now been out of prison for 16 months. She successfully completed her licence period, and is no longer required to attend probation. Her fragmented family relationships have improved.

Sarah has applied for many jobs, and although she’s had a number of interviews, she’s still waiting for the right thing to come along.

Tagged with the theme:

Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes