The main criteria for where we will work is determined by a high number of people returning after serving a short prison sentence to an area already made vulnerable by poverty. We need prisons that are keen to work in partnership with us and we need local faith and community groups demonstrating a willingness and concern by being prepared to provide volunteers, premises, other resources and local guidance to help their people coming back from prison to settle back in and turn away from offending. A short prison sentence is described as a sentence of up to four years in prison.
We work with local faith groups and other community groups to increase their awareness of the issues affecting people who have served a short / a series of short prison sentences and to involve them in manageable ways to make a contribution to the return journey of the Participant . We get to know the local community and relevant organisations, both statutory and third sector services which will form part of the communication and support networks for individuals we work alongside. We build a strong working relationship with the prison staff, usually Offender Outcomes Teams and Link Centres personnel and the Prison Chaplains.
We recruit and train a team of volunteer mentors, Through-care Support Volunteer, to help someone coming out of prison. Our volunteers come from all walks of life and have varied life experiences, including some people who have their own personal experience of being in prison.
Our training for volunteers in this role is comprehensive and involves around 30 hours group based learning over several weeks. We require volunteer to take part in 10 hours on the job shadowing. Our volunteers are required to register in the Scheme for work with Vulnerable Adults – PVG. We have a member of staff supporting volunteers on-going as they help participants.