Saving Lives Changing Lives

Rachael’s Story

Women undergoing sentencing to custody and/or community disposals, or coming up to release/on release from prison (Through the Gates clients) Rachael* originally refuses all appointments and support. However, she eventually agrees to meet her allocated keyworker at prison and allows us to assess her needs. We discover Rachael has suffered from depression and substance misuse for many years. We also find out that Rachael has experienced domestic violence in the past. We identify her areas of need based on this and also decide she needs support in finance, debt and health.t that her relationship was not an abusive one and that her boyfriend was a “good guy”. She said she was missing him.

Rachael’s keyworker writes a letter of support for her, explaining the issues women face in the criminal justice system and linking Rachael’s struggles to her offending behaviour. The keyworker goes to court with Rachael to hear her sentencing and supplies more information about Rachael’s circumstances to the court.

This experience means Rachael trusts Minerva and allows us to develop a really detailed support plan for when she is released from prison. This support plan includes work with substance misuse services and housing services.

On release from prison Rachael does not meet her keyworker at the gates and is arrested for another crime a few days later. However, she then decides to meet Minerva a week later, saying she realises she should have met us originally and wants to re-engage with us. Rachael meets her offender manager at our office and starts realising how she needs to change her life to avoid crime, and makes plans to distance herself from old friends who are a bad influence.

She begins a journey away from reoffending.