If you are somebody who has been affected by crime, ex-offender, family member or victim of crime. Care after prison is in the process of adding a personal story page to our website. If you wish to share your story or part of your story please email to email@example.com
I never normally let my thoughts be known, and I have always been a person, who felt that I should and could trust nobody. I have been a part of the system as long as I have been alive. I know it inside out. There are no surprises for me. Leaving prison in the past was only a process I undertook to at some point re-enter the system. Release dates to me where the same as an expected family holiday. You know you are leaving on a date an in my case returning on a date.
I got involved in nothing while in prison and certainly sought no help upon my release. There comes a point in all men’s lives when they ask themselves is there more to life? Do I want more ever? I reached that point on my last sentence. I had heard of Stephen Doyle and he interested me, because here was a man who walked the landings, who did his time. His approach was to return something prison strips you of: your respect. I heard so many prisoners and prison staff speak about him and his charity CAP. I wondered if he could change his life could I?
I got involved with CAP when I was released, it was something i wanted to do not had too. Working with my key-worker helped me focus my life, and to re-adjust to living in the community again. CAP offered my family support and this helped us all greatly. I was a person who didn’t get involved. The CAP story, the success of its creator and the team leading by example helped me connect.
I am a mother of three young children recently released from prison. I had been in prison twice before and to be honest I hadn’t learnt much of anything. My mother was taking care of my children and I apart from missing them hadn’t a care in the world. I was selfish in my addiction I needed only for myself. Being released was the problem for me. Stepping back into the mammy role and minding my kids. CAP offered me support and good advice. They linked with my mother and offered her great support, which for me was different. While I was working with the CAP team on my issues they were linking my mother with supports and offering her help too.
This was the difference for me and my family: in the past my selfish behaviour created problems between my ma and me, but with CAP’s help she was also supported also listened too.
I was a victim of a serious crime. I as a result felt angry and upset that there only seems to be help for offender not the victims. I came across CAP on the Internet. I noticed they worked with victims too, but in truth I felt I needed to let off steam so I called the CAP offices to air my opinion on the unfair balance I felt their was in supports offered to ex-offenders/current offenders and not victims. I spoke with a lovely person who listened to me complain and then asked me to drop in to see him in the Carmelite Community Centre where CAP is based. I agreed. I wasn’t sure what to expect I knew the person I was meeting from CAP was himself an ex-offender so I wrote down a list of questions I needed answers to. When I met with this man he offered me a cup of tea or coffee and we sat down to talk. I spoke about why I was so upset. He quickly was able to understand where I was coming from, he identified my needs and answered all my questions, like how long will the offender really serve from his sentence? What do they do? What can they do? Etc. etc. questions as a victim I wanted to know the answers to. He gave me an in-depth understanding of the real circumstances of imprisonment. I knew what time frames to expect and this helped me greatly. I met with CAP many times since; I was linked to a counsellor and offered on going support and information. Thank you CAP.
I am 40 years old now. I spent most of my life in and out of homes and prison. I don’t know why or how I came to the realization that I had to change my life it just crept up on me while I was serving my last sentence (5 years). It hit me all of a sudden like I honestly hadn’t noticed or thought of it before, that I had spent my whole life behind one wall or another.
I just remember thinking why? How could my life slip away from me and the ones who loved me? I had children but I’d spent so little time with them that when I heard them say da, I’d look behind me to see whom they were talking to. I had reached the wall that had somehow managed to attract me back behind it my whole life, but this time I didn’t want to come back. Prison is a shit hole of a place. Mountjoy the worst & strangely the best this country has to offer. I had been hearing on the landings about this new service for ex-offenders the CAP project (Care After Prison project) and I remember thinking to myself not another bunch of good intentioned do gooders (when will it ever end) but as time went by and the more I heard about this project I grew very interested. I was drawn to Care After Prison by the way it was set up, using the experience of ex-offenders who work on the project to support people like me. CAP doesn’t make it easy for ex-offenders to reoffend because they use ex-offenders to help target our areas of need. They listen.
The fact that I felt ready now to try put prison and criminality behind me once and for all, and I could use a service who worked with ex-offenders there families and victims of crime added to the new energy I felt for life. I engaged upon my release with CAP and I worked and continued to work on issues that in the past may have lead me to give up and reoffending. I feel good knowing that I have support with no hidden agenda. It makes all the difference.
I came to the CAP project last year. At the Start I came to keep my family happy & off my back. They felt I had issues that lead me to take drugs and engage in criminal activity. I was never in any real trouble or so I felt anyway. But I agreed to meet with a member of the CAP team for a thing called pre-prison info session. I remember saying what the hell is pre-prison info? Quickly I found myself sitting down with a chap from the project, he broke it down for me and made it very clear that if I were to continue with the pattern I was following I would find myself behind bars.
This was a serious possibility as I was already before the courts and was awaiting sentence. After he explained the day-to-day regime and the rules of the prison and asked me if I enjoyed being grounded as a child and was able to make me think that being ground behind a door with no handle was a bad move on my behalf and to avoid repeating mistakes that lead me to court. This conversation was the first of many and indeed the start of a process that has taken me in a direction I couldn’t have imagined only six months earlier. I now work in the youth area and use my past issues as a tool to promote better choices. CAP still links in with me and I feel very positive about my future.