This week (18th – 24th May) is “Mental Health Week”. [Edit:: Link to documents updated 21/05/2020 – NewsDesk] Many of our clients leave prison with some issues of depression or anxiety, and the extended period of lockdown and social isolation has been a difficult time for them. We have published various updates and mental health support info over the last few weeks, specifically in relation to the negative effects on mental health and overall wellbeing that coronavirus and the enforced lockdown brings. It is one of our daily briefing main topics. And we have reported our increased the frequency of welfare calls and use video links to our client houses when we can to help with improved face to face contact. Mental health and client wellbeing during this period has been of paramount importance to us, and probably our single biggest challenge during Covid-19. So, we are pleased to note this week that to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, Shropshire Council’s public health team has created a mental health resources guide to help support people’s mental health and wellbeing, through the coronavirus situation, which we will be making available to any of our clients who would find it useful. […]
It has been reported that there will be an increase to the “Discharge Grant” given to prisoners upon release. Lucy Frazer QC MP indicated in answers to the Commons Justice Committee that prisoners being released early due to the current Coronavirus situation will receive £80 rather than the usual £46. It was also indicated that those who met the criteria for early release may also be issued with a mobile phone to allow them to remain in contact with their offender managers, and also to claim universal credit via a telephone hotline. However, speaking on April 14th, fully ten days after the government announced the scheme, Frazer indicated that up to that point only four prisoners had actually benefited from this. It is expected however that more releases will be taking place over the next few weeks.
Inside Time the prison magazine today reports that people on probation are no longer to be called “offenders” In an article posted today on the Inside Time website, it is reported that : “Probation chiefs said they wanted to “reset the language” and use a term that would “resonate” with those under supervision. Instead of being known as an offender, anyone under supervision will be referred to as a “person subject to probation services”. The change reflects the fact that people on probation are expected to have stopped committing crimes. It will affect ex-prisoners on licence and people given community sentences for low-level crimes.” Inside Time – https://insidetime.org/former-prisoners-no-longer-offenders/ We at Yellow Ribbon will certainly welcome this shift in attitude, because we firmly believe that labelling someone as on offender is unfair, and does little to help them move forward in their life. We are committed to helping those who are ready to turn their life around, and the first step in that process is leaving behind the personal perception of criminality, to view yourself not as who you were – but who you want to be now.