At a prison conference in Leicester this month, colleagues from all areas of the prison and probation services, and those who work with them, declared their need to work more closely together. If their services were to appear cohesive to the client then remote communications were not enough. Links that began at their first brush with the criminal justice system would need to support them
when they came out, and join them to housing, social services and everything else that qualified them as a member of society again.
For many prisoners, coming into contact with their CARAT worker is a revelation that a dedicated professional will be there for them throughout Counselling, Advice, Referral, Assessment and Throughcare. But are CARAT workers getting enough help in paving their client’s way to the outside world?
RAPt – the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust – knows all about helping prisoners off substances and back into society, not least through running CARAT services in 17 prisons. Their recently opened Island Day Programme in Tower Hamlets takes their knowledge and experience of what works in rehabilitation and plants it squarely in the community, responding to the needs and diversity of the area.
Early signs from those who have been involved in the programme for a few months reflect not only the strength of the programme, but the support of their family and community. Clients talk about relating the service to real life from the word go. There is no escapism, no recuperating in a backwater miles from temptation. When they live the programme at Island, they know they will have to wake up with the same pressures as when they used drugs or alcohol. Surely this – and services like this – are a cost effective and practical rehearsal for going it alone
Read the Magazine: PDF Version