The impact of mentoring

MentoringRhian* was coming to the end of a short-term prison sentence and well-known to probation services but after falling pregnant and being released from prison, she was determined to lead a crime-free life.
Pact Futures has been providing a Through the Gate mentoring service on behalf of DDC CRC since 2016, supporting the effective resettlement of people released from prison. Mentors, both paid and voluntary, typically spend up to eight hours with an individual on the day of release, attending appointments, advocating where needed and working to complete the actions agreed in the first probation meeting.

Following this, support is flexible based on the remaining needs of the individual and may include further meetings by phone, in their local area or attending future appointments together. This can last for between two and four weeks.

Rhian’s ex-partner had been violent towards her in the past, so it was important for her to stay safe during her pregnancy and thereafter. Rhian was supported by Pact Futures into temporary accommodation, to attend probation appointments, set up her benefits, register with a GP, attend her first doctor’s appointment, and access drug support services in her area.

Pact Futures also made a referral into social services, so she could declare her pregnancy and her history and be totally open with professionals to maximise the chance of her keeping her baby.

With the support of mentors, Rhian moved from a Bed and Breakfast provided by the council into a family-owned flat, however after a short period of time a breakdown in the wider family saw Rhian become homeless at five months pregnant. Rhian and the Pact Futures team returned from a child protection meeting to find the locks had been changed, and had to seek emergency permission from her offender manager for Rhian to pass through her exclusion zone in order to stay in a suitable flat for a night.

The next day, Pact Futures’ team accompanied Rhian to the local council where she obtained suitable longer-term housing, remaining stable, engaging well with services, until close to the birth of her son. A few weeks later, Rhian gave birth to a healthy baby boy, and was referred to a local women’s mentoring service.

Rhian was exceptionally grateful for Pact Futures’ support and flexibility in supporting her through a very emotional and challenging period in her life. She has matured, grown in confidence, and become a caring new mum to her son.

*names changed to protect identity