Case 1 – Supervised Release Order – intervention requested due to vulnerability and distress identified.
PPPF were asked to provide support to Colin following his release from prison. Colin had planned to return to the area in which he previously resided but two days before his release was informed that he was to be put into temporary accommodation in an area unfamiliar to him that was some distance away from where he wanted to be. He seemed to be distressed and anxious at this prospect and given his history of mental health issues this indicated more support needed.
PPPF was contacted by the prison social worker to see if we could help. We met Colin at the gate and headed to his meeting with his criminal justice social worker and then headed to his temporary accommodation.
We met with Colin on a regular basis. From the beginning Colin had identified steps he wanted to take including immediately enrolling on a cookery course as well as getting settled into more permanent accommodation.
His supervised release order involved weekly contact with social work. It was quite apparent that no information had been passed on to the temporary criminal justice social worker. The initial meetings were basically just a reporting function and Colin got very frustrated by them. Colin indicated that he was actually thinking about “doing a runner” but after talking it through he saw the error of this decision. We continued to support Colin through this transitional period.
There were various issues that arose. Firstly, the temporary accommodation was based in a hostel where there was access to substances that would have ended with Colin being returned to custody. Colin undertook the meetings that eventually got him moved out to a more suitable environment. However, he was unhappy in this flat but used his connections to get somewhere better.
Medication was also an issue. Colin left prison without his medical history being shared. The first Doctor he registered with would not prescribe his pain killers. This led to much upset and distress, eventually being sorted by Colin contacting his previous GP to sort matters out. Meds are an ongoing issue with Colin as he tends to think he is a better judge than the Doctor as to what is required. There were occasions when taking his meds was an issue with the risk of reoffending increasing.
There was the usual issue of not getting access to benefits immediately. Colin had his claim suspended due to not having a bank account. This is something that needs to be sorted before people leave prison. For the first couple of weeks Colin had to rely on Social Work supporting him as well as local food banks.
Colin became more settled in his new environment. He realised himself that applying right away for college would have been a bad idea as he was not ready for it. Colin has subsequently applied for a course and is awaiting the outcome. He is getting on better with his doctor regarding his medication and is trying to sort out issues with social work that he is unhappy with. He is in a position where he can take decisions for himself without help or intervention by others. However, will continue to be available for Colin as and when he needs us…