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Bromford goes inside Oakwood prison to help inmates

We are working in partnership with HMP Oakwood in Staffordshire to provide additional support to prisoners and their families to adjust to being back in the community when they are released in conjunction with Government rehabilitation and offender management.

We offer one-to-one support for prisoners and their families in areas such as housing, substance misuse, employment, education and training, confidence, group work, changing behaviour and thinking differently to support their goals.

Families are the most important support for prisoners and ensuring that they can cope and find assistance ensures that the prisoner has a network which will assist in keeping them away from reoffending.

Prisoners and their families can face immense anxiety when their release date is upon them and we can liaise and help resolve queries. Our aim is to support both prisoners and families as we believe that this is the best way to help prisoners to become positive members of the community. Working with the Family Pathway Centre, we’ve set up weekly drop-in sessions which support them as much as three months before being released. Together, we aim to assist in tackling issues such as housing, debt, accessing other agencies, drug/alcohol support and employment to name but a few. We have also supported families and prisoners in difficult domestic issues, such as bereavement.

Daniel Daly, family pathway centre manager at HALOW, Birmingham (Help and Advice Line for Offenders Wives, Partners and Family) said: “The extra support Bromford has been providing visitors has been great. With so many Government welfare benefits changes, Bromford has helped keep our visitors up to date with information, advice and sign posting services. This helps to make policies simple and easy to understand. The partnership between HALOW, G4S HMP Oakwood and Bromford is making a real difference to both prisoners and families in a difficult position.”

Case study (names have been changed)

Jane talks about how the service has helped her stepson, Steve.

“From a parent’s point of view you never expect to have to go through this. When you do, you go into complete shock and don’t know where to turn. I’ve worked in managerial roles for 30 years so I know all about people but I’ve never had to deal with anything like this before.

“Steve, 31, was in prison for over three years and served his full sentence. Because of that he didn’t have a probation officer and came out at a disadvantage with minimal preparation.

“He had nowhere to live – we all agreed as a family he couldn’t stay with us - no job, no money, just a list of housing associations to contact and one lead for possible training, which in the end came to nothing. Accommodation was an issue with his history so we paid for him to stay in a bed and breakfast for nearly three months.

“The support from Bromford has been golden - both emotional and practical support for Steve as well as my husband and I. Our support worker, Kam, was a calm influence and a source of information and suggestions and being able to go with Steve to appointments has been invaluable – she could ask the right questions. Prison appears to have sapped Steve of most of his self belief so it was so important he had someone to turn to.

“She was also an ear for my husband and I at a very difficult time. We had no experience of this and thought ‘the system’ would pick it up. There were days when we were in total and utter despair. We didn’t know what to do and it felt like we were going up blind alleys and coming up against brick walls.

“I’m sure lesser people would have given up. Why would Steve want to go on with his life meeting so many dead ends? There was nothing for him. We became disheartened and just expected the answer to everything to be no.

“However, Kam was always at the end of a phone and has helped Steve start to make progress. He is now living in a private house share – the best option for him at the moment - and is working part-time in customer service. He is so grateful for the support and is keen to get his life back on track as soon as practically possible and start to make a valuable contribution to society. He ultimately wants to get his own place but he knows he needs to get a full-time job and keep at it.”

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