Feedback  – prisoners

“While waiting for a move to a C Cat prison I received a letter from an old friend telling me what HMP Coldingley was like. Amongst everything he wrote, the thing that stuck out for me was KeepOut – The Crime Diversion Scheme. Arriving at HMP Coldingley I attended courses and worked in the kitchen before applying for KeepOut. I started doing part time voluntary work for the scheme for around six weeks before applying full time. I have now been a full time worker for about 18 months and it’s a decision I am proud to have made. I am a young man of 25 years and have been in prison for almost eight of those. I grew up in and around drugs, alcohol and violence and have made a lot of wrong choices in my life. I believe a lot of young people can relate to my stories and my Rap, and I want them to see where the choices I have made in my life have lead – I am serving a life sentence in prison. I hope I can make them see that actions have consequences and that only they are responsible for their own choices. Working on the KeepOut team is something I am proud of doing and it’s definitely something I would take up in the future.”  

“I’d like to pay my dues to society and one way to do this is to play my part as a member of the KeepOut Crime Diversion Scheme. The opportunity to try and divert young people away from crime and eventual imprisonment was one that I felt compelled to seize. I have children of my own and nieces, nephews, cousins etc and I wouldn’t want to see any of them make the mistakes I’ve made in life. I threw away a promising career, many chances to have made it in life, relationships, friendships and much more as a result of my erratic behaviour in the past. I am rehabilitating myself at present and have made considerable progress thus far. KeepOut has given and still is giving me skills, confidence, know-how and strength to deliver an excellent programme to young people, enabling me to be able to show them the reality of the consequences of one’s actions and how easily one’s life could change forever. There’s no going back from an indelible stain on your character, only restitution may show remorse and might still not be enough to heal the wounds and scars one might have left behind. It’d be nice to help the youth of today, empowering them to make decisions that will help them instead of hinder their progress in life.”

"I came to HMP Send hoping to do different courses whilst I was serving 15 months of a 30-month sentence. The prison’s education adviser told me about KeepOut; I was very excited and enthusiastic to hear about this and wanted to get into it straight away. I felt my age (24) and my life experience – mainly living in London in an area that is rife with youth crime – would give me a good insight into the needs of young people. I applied, had a formal interview and was accepted on to the scheme. I have now been working with the KeepOut team for six months. I truly enjoy my job:  it is both challenging and rewarding. There is a purpose to our work and it keeps me busy. Knowing that I make a difference in young women’s lives makes this type of work worthwhile. During the event days, the main message that I like to get across to the young women is: it’s their lives and the choices they make have an effect on not only them, but countless others around them. I am looking forward to my release as I hope to do my NVQ in advice and guidance and counselling and continue to work with young adults, supporting them through their journey of positive change.”

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