Care After Prison (CAP) is a national peer led criminal justice charity supporting people affected by imprisonment, current and former offenders and their families.
We provide 5 services, the Community Support Scheme (CSS), Peer Mentoring Services & Support, Post Release Community Support, Prison In Reach and Family Support –
“Hi, my name is Jason, I work with CAP and I have two roles, as a Peer Mentor and a Community Support Worker”
The role of a Mentor
As a mentor I work with individuals who are released from prison. As somebody with experience of imprisonment I know only too well the difficulties and challenges faced upon release. In my role as peer mentor, I meet the person upon release and first have a general conversation to build up rapport between each other and hopefully in time build trust. The key role for me is to listen. People released from prison feel as though they have never been listened to before.
A lot of tasks can be challenging for a person who has been released. Isolation, family breakdown, and compounded mental health and addiction are common experiences for those recently released from prison. The sole purpose of a mentor is to actively listen and identify and understand the struggles the mentee is going through. It can be very hard for some individuals to express themselves and open up to another person, especially someone of authority because they might feel intimidated. The fact that the mentor and mentee have a shared experience of imprisonment, the mentee is more likely to feel at greater ease and therefore become comfortable when speaking with me.
This shared experience becomes the start of our peer mentor & mentee relationship. The aim of this relationship is to look at solutions together in the hope of overcoming these issues. I liaise with the peer mentee on a weekly basis coming up with a time that suits us both but I am always available at the end of a phone if they need any assistance. Coming out of prison can be both daunting and extremely lonely so as a mentor, my aim is to support, direct and guide them through these challenges, and hopefully diffuse high stress situations.
The role of a Community Support Worker
As a support worker, I work with former offenders who are trying to rehabilitate & reintegrate back into society. We work with individuals who have recently been released and /or those who are living in the community but struggling to resettle.
We also receive referrals from a wide range of other agencies.
My job is to provide support to clients who find it hard to adapt due to challenges arising from a range of underlying issues such as addiction, homelessness, unemployment, and a lack of training and education. When a client presents at our agency or is referred from another service, an assessment of needs is done and from there a care plan is developed with a summary of specific needs or supports identified and from there an action plan is put in place. My job as a support worker is to source and refer the client to specialised services that can address their individual needs. As a support worker my role is also to encourage, to motivate and to empower the client through challenging times. This is done through a one to one meeting once a week where we would discuss the progress or difficulties in their transition from prison to the community As someone with lived experience of imprisonment, rapport and trust often enable my working relationships with clients in the pursuit of effective reintegration.
Sometimes the first step is the hardest, we understand that so if you are seeking support, information, advice or referral to other services, CAP is here for you – call us on our Freephone LIne 1800 839 970, our team are here for you and your family. It is a safe, confidential and non-judgmental space.
Care After Prison is not permitted to work with those involved in the criminal justice sector for crimes relating to a sexual nature, including:
- those convicted of any nature of a sex offence
- those on remand and awaiting trial for a sex offence
- those on bail for charges of a sexual nature
- those having been charged with a sex offence
- anyone before the courts on sex offences.