Case Study – support offered to a young man named George with more than 40 convictions on his record.
We originally engaged with George, a 21 year old young man in June 2013 who was coming out of prison. George had just finished a sentence for assault. Previously he had accumulated a total of more than 40 convictions for his offending behaviour. The contact with us came through his speech therapist who heard about us having heard our national coordinator speak at a conference.
George tried to re-engage with his family. However, the first meeting he was offered a concoction of substances that would have in all probability ended with a reconviction. George was mature enough to refuse to participate and phoned his mentor for additional support and encouragement.
George then moved into a hostel and worked at trying to address his issues. Most of Georges offending behaviour stems from a serious childhood trauma that he suffered. This came to light during one of the mentoring sessions. This seemed to be at the root cause of his substance misuse and offending behaviour. However, our mentor quickly realised that this would require more specialised help than we could offer but we would still be there for any additional support required.
This was arranged but George failed to take part. George was not ready to deal with these issues and our mentor stated clearly that this was something that he would have to do. It was left open at that point.
George meanwhile had got himself some accommodation and was doing quite well with his progression. However, his turbulent family situation re-emerged and George had a relapse into further substance misuse. Our mentor stayed in touch and tried to help him through this difficult period. At one point George tried to get a place on a rehab course but since he did not have any charges outstanding this was refused. It did not take George long to get another charge raised against him…
Our mentor had also arranged for George to volunteer with another local project. He was also enlisted onto the Catalyst project in Kilmarnock for support. George impressed the local project with his enthusiasm and work ethic that they offered him employment with themselves. George was more than happy to take this offer up.
However, there was still the small matter of the outstanding charge to be dealt with. PPPF wrote a letter on George’s behalf to the local Sheriff Court. This was taken with the other evidence offered to the court to show that George had changed in a positive manner in many ways. The Sheriff was delighted to see such a change in just a year with a young man who was often appearing in front of her. The Sheriff was suitably impressed by the good words written on his behalf and decided to admonish George on the outstanding charge.
This was a positive outcome for everyone involved. It could have been an entirely different ending had George returned to his old ways…this outcome was a result of effective partnership working in trying to put a halt to this particular revolving door to prison…
We will stay in touch with George who also wants to eventually become a volunteer with us once he feels more settled.