Working with People Leaving Prison
Community Chaplaincy plays an effective role in helping people make a new start after leaving prison.
Our remit is to provide holistic support for people in prison and then through the gate upon release, and during those first critical days, weeks and months (and beyond) back in the community, with the aim of helping them to overcome the barriers they face, enter into meaningful occupation and build a financially independent future in the community, rather than continuing in a cycle of re-offending.
We do this by spending time in getting alongside prisoners before they are released and trying to understand their hopes, fears and expectations for the future. We help them map out a plan of how they are going to achieve what they want to ‘on the outside’, and then, support them in achieving this, through practical support, mentoring and advocacy on an on-going basis for as long as it is needed. We do not do all this on our own. We work with many organisations, faith communities and volunteers to provide a relational network of support.
Many people in prison have had enough of being in trouble. They want life to be different when they get out but are not sure how. Perhaps what happened to them when they were younger played a part in what went wrong. They may well have missed out on having a safe and supportive environment in which to develop through their early years, have struggled with education, or had difficulty forming or keeping good or lasting relationships. Many suffer from low self-esteem.
Prison rehabilitation programmes can play an important role in helping prisoners to consider their future. Obviously getting out of prison is not the end of the journey. So we, as Community Chaplains, are here to help people face the challenges that lie ahead. The Community Chaplaincy Team, involving professionals and trained volunteer supporters, can offer personal help and support for as long as is needed.
With ongoing encouragement and relational support from Community Chaplaincy, people can grow to value their lives enough to face the challenges of starting a new way of life.
Rob needs someone to walk alongside. You see, from early days, Rob got the blame for everything. The only stepson in a family of four boys, he was beaten by his stepfather. Pleas for help from his mother fell on deaf ears. It was easier and safer to stay away from home and truant from school. Expelled and rejected, Social Services put Rob in bed and breakfast and gave him a social worker. The local gang offered him the friendship and acceptance he needed. Their friendship has cost him dear - he stole to fund his addiction to drugs and alcohol. One thing led to another and he’s been in prison - now his mother refuses all contact.
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A project of South West Community Chaplaincy Ltd, a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England and Wales No: 6132161 Charity No: 1128372