Ex-prisoner insights Back to top
Supporting prisoners to help reduce their chances of reoffending is central to our mission. It is critical to understand that the right interaction with a prison officer at the right moment can make a huge difference.
Here, a serving prisoner talks about the hope he has gained from finding a new skill and what difference a good prison officer can make.
We work closely with former prisoners to benefit from their experiences and they play a key role in our recruitment and training processes. Read their reflections on the rehabilitation process:
Inspirational speaker, founder of Unlocking Potential and ex-prisoner
“I have always said that it was not the system that rehabilitated me, it was the individuals who worked within it. These individuals treated me as a human being and would give me messages of hope that enabled me to make significant changes.
“In 2000 I received a prison sentence of four years and at that point I believed that my life would never be more than a bag of gear, a prison cell and a council estate. The prison officers I met during that sentence treated me with respect and care, I was a cornered animal and my soul was dying, these individuals treated me as a human being and nurtured me back to life.
“When I left that sentence I still had some way to go but I had started to trust more, so engaged with services within my community. My whole rehabilitation journey took six years and it was a mixture of support from professionals within both the criminal justice and voluntary services. These individuals and services supported me to become the person I am today.”
Author of Cell Workout and ex-prisoner
“Although prison was a massive knock, once I found my feet I wanted to use my time as productively as possible. I spent months in Pentonville developing the exercises for Cell Workout and the best part of three years designing the book and publishing it myself before Hodder and Stoughton took it on.
“I plugged away for five years trying to be allowed back into prison, so that I could try to give something back and inspire other prisoners to change their lives.
“I must have been knocked back what felt like a million times, until Ian Bickers, who was Governor at HMP Wandsworth at the time, decided to take a chance on me and let me come back in to deliver my fitness and achievement courses. I set up a social enterprise – Cell Workout Enterprise C.I.C – and, with the help of the Prisoners’ Education Trust, succeeded in winning funding from the Ministry of Justice to deliver my Cell Workout Workshop programme in HMP Wandsworth.”