Chris’s blog: Dear Father Christmas…

Hello

The PortaCabin is starting to look quite festive; our tree, a fine 2’3’‘ specimen, has matured by a least an inch over the year.

LandWorks' miniature Christmas tree
LandWorks’ miniature Christmas tree

We have held the seasonal vote for this year’s tree fairy… Well, its young Mr Grayling and doesn’t he look lovely, perched on top, wobbling slightly to the right!

Inside prison Christmas is traditionally a bit of a bleak affair. Not much to look forward to and most just really keen to block it out and get it over with – although I do quite accept that they may not be entirely alone on this!

However we are all looking forward to our LandWorks Christmas do and once again everyone will help cook, mess around, eat too much, enjoy themselves with a bit of a family atmosphere.

Over the last few years I have become quite a regular visitor in our local prison. Meeting possible new candidates, trying to identify men who have reached a point where they want to change and LandWorks could provide the support they need… It is now possible to offer a route for some, a progression through prison and to LandWorks, through-the-gate resettlement.

But it doesn’t always go smoothly…

After release, for many the remaining 50% of the sentence is served in the community on licence and you can be recalled to prison at any point. This recall could be triggered by criminal activity or life difficulties/pressures and then, prison it is – mainly because there is no other alternative.

Jez had been at LandWorks for about three months, when he was recalled. I know and understand there was little option but I still feel dreadful that we could not offer a bit more vital support…

Yup you’ve guessed it, that old chestnut: accommodation!

I met Jez inside this week; he’s got himself back together, taken a number of tough decisions, reunited with his mum and is tremendously positive, generously citing LandWorks as his rock while all around him collapsed.

Jez has been in the Recovery Community in HMP Channings Wood, a fantastic set up with a very dedicated team offering full-on support and therapy, including a counselling program delivered by Relate. I mentioned them last time and you can see why we believe that this could all join up and offer carefully thought-through targeted support both inside and out.

Jez is coming back, just as soon as we can find some good rental accommodation.

So here goes: Dear Father Christmas…

Chris


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