In Autumn 2009 we introduced the first phase of a project aimed at supporting prisoner rehabilitation and resettlement in the community. Following extensive liaison with the HMPrison service and working closely with prison Counselling Assessment Referral Advice and Throughcare (CARAT) teams we offer structured work placements at Kenward House Yalding for offenders, five days a week from HMP Stanford Hill, East Sutton Park & Blantyre House. The aim is to develop confidence, self esteem and employability skills through voluntary work placements of one month to nine months or more, dependent on a prisoner’s sentience.
Many offenders have had a premature end to their full-time education and have limited social skills. We work with highly vulnerable and socially excluded people who often have damaged and disturbing backgrounds. Indeed, many have been victims of crime and abuse, leading in turn to offending behaviour themselves. We help them to rebuild their confidence and self-esteem, teach them vital employability skills and open their eyes to the possibility of living a different, more successful and productive life.
Our ‘Work Skills’ Project offers highly disadvantaged male and female offenders the chance to gain employability skills, improve confidence and self esteem, develop positive attitudes and aspirations towards work and their future and increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation into the community. Ultimately this project seeks to reduce the level of re-offending and give these men with complex and multiple problems the second chance that they need.
Criminal behaviour is often fuelled by drug and alcohol dependency and abuse. There are 1.3 million families affected by drug or alcohol misuse in the UK, negatively affecting health, relationships, personal finances and the ability of people to work effectively or indeed work at all. The cost to society is many billions. For many offenders, they have multiple and complex problems – including substance abuse that needs to be tackled. These prisoners need a reliable source of accurate information, support and practical local guidance to help them avoid or break the cycle of addiction.
Many of the clients who come to the Kenward Trust have associated problems of social isolation, guilt, fear, grief and emotional setbacks. They may have tried to solve these problems with alcohol or other drugs and hence found themselves victims of a more vicious problem of dependency or addiction, often resulting in family breakdown, hospitalisation and prison sentences. Some come to our services because the Courts have sentenced them to do so. We estimate that 90% of our clients have had experience of the criminal justice system, with up to 30% having served prison sentences. Some have been made virtually homeless due to their behaviour and inability to hold down regular employment.
However, the biggest immediate obstacles that face offenders on leaving prison is finding accommodation and an occupation that can help them stop the cycle of repeat offending. Our project seeks to address this need of employment.