A 32 year old female offender with a history of drug abuse from the Aylesbury area returning to sofa surf in Oxfordshire with boyfriend (offender). Rent arrears in excess of £2400. Requested help with access to housing, debt advise and setting up benefits and a payment plan, health (under Stoke Mandeville consultant), drugs, access to children and practical support (clothing) and a CV. She did not want to be collected from prison as her boyfriend was meeting her. She was assessed in prison and due to lack of time before release (2 weeks) we matched her with a local mentor in her community.

Outcomes

  • Released in November 2012
  • Length of engagement 6 months to date
  • No further involvement in the CJS to date.

What did we do?

Housing: The mentor investigated private rental housing and set up some viewing opportunities. Shortly after release from prison she discovered she was pregnant and has since split up with her boyfriend. She has moved back to Aylesbury to live with her family short term, although gaining stable long term housing remains important to her.

Education training and employment: The mentor helped her to prepare a CV and encouraged her to apply for a few jobs. Whilst to date these have been unsuccessful she is gaining self confidence and is continuing to apply. She starts a computer refresher course on 20th May. We are investigating the possibility of helping her deliver a small social enterprise based on selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Drugs: The mentee came out of prison ‘clean’ and off methadone. She did relapse but since finding that she was pregnant has managed to stay clean. She is now fully engaging with SMART and reports that at present she is not tempted to use drugs, although she is worried about possible relapse after the birth of her child.

Debt: The mentor is currently helping her reduce her rent arrears and debt through car boot sales and is also seeking specialist help through the Citizens Advice Bureau and Trading Standards over charges applied to her accounts from loan companies. A payment plan has been put in place to start reducing the rent arrears and an agreement has been reached with her bank for an interest free overdraft to reduce or stop costs and charges.

Health and practical support: While in Oxfordshire but still under Stoke Mandeville we assisted her with transport to attend the consultant’s appointments. She is now in good health and the pregnancy is progressing well. The mentor has encouraged her to engage with her social worker and they have developed a good relationship. We are currently looking into sourcing maternity wear.