Leaving prison can be a confusing and difficult time for many people. Many will have suffered a relationship breakdown or be unable to return to their previous address either as a licence condition or through risk of return to previous offending behaviours due to their environment and association with others. This often results in ex-offenders ending up in a Bail Hostel upon release. These however are often reported as being difficult places to live, where the risks of drug use and / or violent behaviour are frequently present. We have a range of projects which address these issues, providing training opportunities and work experience as part of the returning to work process.
Yellow Ribbon runs three ongoing programmes:
- Sports – walking & gym
- Music Therapy
- Client Journey
- Kick Start to Recovery
These programmes cover various areas, including employability, mental wellbeing, drug and alcohol recovery and practical life skills
"Only 8% of people released from Prison are in PAYE employment six weeks after release. After a year the figure rises to just 17%"
"52% of people in prison report having mental health difficulties. Self-inflicted deaths are six times more likely than in the general population."
We were running a ‘building better opportunities’ programme includes employability workshops. Currently this is on hold.
These workshops focused upon barriers to progression into job searching, employment, training and community engagement. The workshops comprise of soft skills and practical skills workshops – focussing on goals, hope, dealing with emotions, self-esteem, and body language as well as interview skills, cv building, and budgeting.
The practical skills workshops help to provide a focus to demonstrate the values and attitudes sought by employers whilst building confidence and self-esteem and learning new skills. Each course lasts for eight weeks.
In our houses we aim to create a culture of acceptance, belonging and growth where members are listened to and valued, as well as challenged constructively.
Grant funded events
We have run a number of Community grant funded courses; these include employability and wellbeing.
Counselling and mentoring
We have a resident Counsellor who offers one to one sessions and a team of mentors to offer additional support.
12 Step group
We do host a 12 steps programme. 12 steps is a mutual aid recovery program for the purpose of recovery from substance addictions, behavioural addictions and compulsion.
Through the Gate work.
Our experience and feedback from ex-offenders and prison staff including chaplaincies tells us that the transition from prison to life outside is incredibly challenging. Indeed, for many ex-offenders the change from secure and controlled living to independent living is a terrifying experience and very hard to adapt to. This can lead to mental ill-health, substance misuse and indeed, reoffending. In our experience, early contact and relationship-building is key to developing a positive and robust journey for clients. Our experience in the past shows us that early intervention, during the last few months of prison life can seriously help negate the anxiety and fear that release can lead to. These relationships are more fruitful for the client if they are long term and consistent.
A good number of prisoners find comfort and community in chapel life in prison. It can be difficult for clients who are on a faith journey, particularly those whose journey began with prison chaplaincy, to find a spiritual home and the support they need to continue their journey outside of prison. Indeed, life without the support of a chapel community can add to the fear and disconnect that many ex-offenders experience on release.
We work with Chaplaincies and Reducing Reoffending teams in Prisons in the West Midlands to connect with Prisoners in the months before release. This includes mentoring and support. In HMP Stoke Heath we piloted a six-week pre-release program covering areas such as goal setting, decision making and self-esteem alongside employability skills. This was tremendously appreciated by those who participated.