Our over-riding aim is to reduce reoffending and protect the public.
Peter was just 17 when he first received a six month prison sentence. Two years later he found himself sentenced again, this time for four years for a diamond robbery which was intended to fund his, by now, serious drug use.
For the next 30 years Peter travelled widely often to exotic locations where he could obtain drugs cheaply and easily.
Peter committed fraud to fund his drugs habit and in 2011 was sentenced for two years at Leeds Crown Court for conspiracy to defraud and six months later was given a further two year sentence for obtaining money by deception.
*Name changed to protect identity
When Peter was seven years old he moved home with his mother and stepfather. He became a target for bullying and by the time he was 14 his behaviour was such that no school would have him.
Instead of dropping out of education, Peter opted for Catering College and completed a full time two year course. He got work in hotels and restaurants, however he developed a cannabis habit.
At 17 years old Peter was sentenced to six months in a Young Offenders Prison for drugs and violence offences
For the next 30 years Peter’s nomadic life style was characterised by periods of employment, serious drug use and criminal activities such as fraud and theft to fund his addiction.
When Peter was released from custody he was looking to make a new start.
He was told there was no available accommodation and he would need to sleep rough on the streets and come back after the weekend. By the time he met his Probation Officer he was distraught.
His Probation Officer was very supportive and phoned the housing team immediately, recounting his history and emphasising the need to pay attention to this case. Peter was initially provided with B&B accommodation and then moved into supported housing.
Through an introduction provided by probation, Peter lives in accommodation provided by a charity enabling men to break free from addiction and crime. Peter has completed a twelve week course around overcoming substance misuse entitled ‘A New Future’, and has been clean from drugs for many months.
The Probation Officer had this to say: “It would have been easy for Peter to have given up and either committed an offence or dropped out and lived on the street until he was recalled. When we eventually met I explained to Peter that I could only support and sign post him – any success in changing his life would be down to him. Peter is a completely different person today from when we first met. I have only suggested and guided, he has done all the hard work.”
He attended office skills training to support his search for paid employment. Peter’s long term goal is to help others and become a drugs counsellor.
As a User Voice volunteer, Peter is now helping other offenders positively engage with the service by providing moral support and a listening ear. (www.uservoice.org).
Peter is a Volunteer Peer Mentor, supporting those going through treatment for drug problems. Peter is also volunteering with PACT, the Prison Advice and Care Trust, meeting offenders at the gate as they are released from prison.
Peter is determined to use his past mistakes and his knowledge of what drug– related offenders go through to forge a new positive life.
* Name changed to protect identity.