Archive for May, 2010

Tom’s Tough Choice

I met up with Tom and he told me that he wants to go to see if he can find out whether his ex-girlfriend still lives in the same property as she hasn’t responded to solicitor’s letters. I had a lot of worries around the potential different issues that may arise if he were to go, and how this would affect his current positive mind set; i.e. What if she didn’t live there and he felt he would never see his son again? What if she did live there and they ended up arguing; how would he deal with this and would we be dragged in? What if she did live there, but just ignored him? There were a lot of different variables that needed consideration so I phoned Tom and he just reeled of every potential and how he would cope which put my mind at ease because he had obviously been thinking about this a lot and weighed it all up positively. I took Tom over and he found out she did still live there so he posted his phone number through the door and said he would now start legal proceedings. So all-in-all my worries were dispelled and I believe just that 5 minutes it took to do a tad of Sleuthing put Tom’s mind at rest and now he has a bit more clarity on the direction he can go.

Jamie, Support Worker

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Karen is currently back in Prison after breaching her ASBO, by being drunk and disorderly, within 5 days of her last release from prison.  I visited her yesterday and she was very angry at being back in custody, she can’t understand why she has been locked up again.  We chatted about her behaviour when she was released and she admitted that she really struggled to keep her drinking at a manageable level.  She recognises that when she drinks sprits she can’t control her behaviour and she knows she needs to address this but admits that she doesn’t know how else to “cope with her problems other than to drink to forget”.

She is in court next week to be sentenced but it looks likely that she will be remanded further for a psychiatric assessment.  The prospect of this terrifies Karen.  She already feels overwhelmed by her own emotional problems and has stated that if she is forced to address them by mental health professionals, rather than at her own pace, then she will commit suicide.  At the same time, she understands that something needs to be done about her behaviour but she feels that her ASBO and custody do not help her.  I asked her what she wanted to happen next, how she would like to things to progress and she said that she would like to be released from prison into the community, either on licence or through electronic tagging and that she wants to continue to work with her alcohol treatment service.

She plans to cut down her alcohol intake by swapping spirits for drinks with a lesser alcohol content.  This might not seem like a big step but, for Karen, this is really good progress.  It shows she is acknowledging her problem with alcohol and is taking steps to work on this.  It also shows that she is taking steps to prevent reoffending and returning to custody as she knows that she gets into trouble when she is drinking spirits.  It is not realistic to ask Karen to stop drinking straight away, she has tried this and it doesn’t work, she told me that when she has been asked to do this it makes her feel like even more of a failure as she knows she can’t just stop.  If she can show that she is willing to address her alcohol problems and is making steps to cut down then she will hopefully be funded to go into rehab.  She has decided on the rehab that she wants to go to and seems quite positive about this.  We will continue to support Karen throughout her court appearance next week and, dependent upon the outcome, will support her through her journey into rehab or continue to work with her whilst she is in custody.

Fiona, Support Worker


We are following Tom and Karen to show the nature of our work over time.  The last couple of weeks really demonstrates that you can’t expect people to respond within set time frames.  Both of these people are getting the same service from us; one doing incredibly well the other going around in circles. 

Our ethos means that Karen is most important at the moment as she’s not really getting any positive input anywhere else.  We will keep pushing, and no matter how long it takes we will turn her’s into a good news story!

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For Tom to be able to eventually go to residential Rehab there were some strict conditions; He must show willing by attending structured day care at least 3 times a week, attend all testing appointments with DRR (a court order) and hopefully get negative urine tests, and to attend Probation monthly.

Tom took the Bull by the horns and has been attending structured day care regularly. He has attended all probation and DRR appointments and has also been giving regular drug free urine samples.

I meet up with Tom regularly and his whole attitude has done a 180 degree turn. He has been up to the rehab with his DRR worker and thought it looked fantastic. He has another appointment in a couple of weeks to make his own way to the rehab to spend the day there and Tom’s revelling in the prospective challenge.

Every time I meet up with Tom he’s beaming from ear-to-ear and the support offered is more around psychosocial and cognitive behaviour. We mainly sit down and talk about life and the potential if not definite positive changes that have and are still happening with Tom.

We as an organisation are only too aware of the potential for relapse and have made sure that a structured safety net is in place so that we can pick up Tom if and when necessary.


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Election fever has reached is max today and in amongst all this I was drawn back to the reality of what we already have in our society.  David Cameron is pleading with us to vote for change and Nick Clegg urging us to do something different.

Sally, our worker in Huddersfield mentioned to me today that one of the people she is supporting has received an Anti-Social Behaviour Order that bans her from a Biffa bin.  This is because she was sleeping in it for a while and was causing a few problems for ‘normal people’.  I’m feeling very doubtful that either David’s change or Nick’s difference will do much to move us towards a society that doesn’t accept people living in bins.  I for one find it embarrasing that not only that but we also use the criminal justice system to somehow blame this individual for the behaviour that a failing society has produced.

Sorry for getting a bit ranty!  but politician’s teach us all to point the finger and most of the answers are not about blaming others but taking some responsibility and doing something to create change!

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