People on release from prison need more personal support, someone to turn to. Without it, that person will likely be back inside. I know this, because I have seen it throughout my career in the prison service.
Almost all men and women who are in prison have complex issues that have led to offending; mental health needs, drug and alcohol addictions, experience of abuse, just to name a few. Unless these needs are addressed, the individual is vulnerable to falling back to their old ways and reoffending. Whilst in prison, we did a lot of work changing people’s behaviour, developing skills and building self-esteem, but once they are released that’s it.
Having a support network around you is so crucial at this stage. Alongside statutory services, Step Together is there to provide this tailored support, which really meets the needs of that individual. This enduring relationship through their one-to-one support with Step Together, is key in helping individuals desist from crime. This is why I am involved as a trustee and this is why I urge you to support our Christmas Appeal.
You may have already seen Mooch’s story. This Christmas, our appeal is raising vital funds to help other people like Mooch turn their lives around. With Step Together’s help, Mooch is now employed, has his own home and is rebuilding family relationships. He has that support, whilst many others still don’t.
Alongside having one-to-one support, Step Together reduces reoffending by helping clients participate in community volunteering.
For many people on release, the move to employment is difficult. Not only in terms of the stigma they may still face, but also because many may never have worked before or were unemployed before going to prison. Volunteering is a small, achievable step on that journey back into employment and integration in society. It is less daunting and it works.
The prison service is there to take people out of society and change their behaviour. But on release we all have a responsibility to help Mooch and others like him to have a better future.
By donating to Step Together you are helping us to do just that. Thank you for your support!
Julia Killick CBE
Step Together Trustee and former Governor of HMP Holloway