Many of the people who come through the criminal justice system have a complex range of needs, yet they often lack the support network that could help them deal with their problems. Most of our service users have never had a positive role model in their life or even simply experienced someone taking an interest in them.
The aim of our Through the Gate mentoring service is ultimately to reduce reoffending by supporting the effective resettlement of men and women on release from custody. Our regional teams are made up a mentor coordinator who manages a team of paid and volunteer mentors that provide the support that can make a big difference to someone trying to turn their life around.
In the weeks up to being released from custody, the service user will meet with one of our mentors to create an action plan and complete an assessment of their needs. Then on the day of their release from custody, the mentor meets the service user at the prison gate and goes on to spend up to eight hours with them, advocating where needed and working to complete the actions agreed in the first meeting. This typically might include attending a range of appointments including with their probation offender manager, ensuring they attend their resettlement location, setting up benefits, registering with a GP and so on. Following this initial mentoring support, further support is flexible based on the remaining needs of the individual as well as referring to longer-term mentoring support and services where available.