Working with clients of Probation allowed Conn3ct’s recovery coach Larry Eve and the Basement’s CRO Claire to work with prolific offenders and explore areas which may help minimise any future offending. Initially the guys from Conn3ct and the Basement were asked to provide a one off session to inform offenders about the alcohol and drug services available to them in Calderdale. However, because the session was so successful they were asked to come back and do more.
The future sessions became structured and planned in advanced to meet the needs of the clients. The sessions were set so that clients could be aware of what their offending behaviour had done to the victims, to their families and to society in general. Sessions addressed areas such as restorative justice, harm minimisation, consequences from using drugs and alcohol and so on.
The probation officer in charge had this to say:
“They found the groups useful as they were structured around their particular needs – they found both Larry and Claire very good in helping resolve any issues they had, you were both very approachable and helpful.”
PC Holly Douglas who works alongside Hillary also agreed that the sessions had a positive effect on the clients:
“I found the group sessions on Restorative Justice to be extremely useful to our clients, as many have RJ as a condition of their ICO. The sessions gave them much more of an understanding and enthusiasm about the topic and enabled them to gain an insight on the victim’s points of view. Hillary and I found you to be an excellent motivator with great energy. I feel this has been reflected by the fact that one of our clients has come to you for support since the groups, and others have asked to be referred to the Basement Recovery Project…I look forward to working with you again in the future….”
Currently the groups are not running, however, Larry and Claire have been invited back to do further work with ICO’s. Claire is continuing to work with a client and to date has received positive feedback.
The Intensive Community Order builds on the success of the Intensive Alternative to Custody (IAC) pilot as an alternative to short prison sentences – which have a very high re-offending rate (61%) with the aim of better rehabilitating offenders through an intensive programme of intervention in the community, managed by probation.
Article published in RecoveryTimes issue 3