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High Sheriff Meets an Ex-offender who is Getting his Life Back on Track Posted On 09 April 2021

In his weekly briefing, High Sheriff of West Sussex, Dr Tim Fooks, met with an ex-offender, who is currently partaking in charity work

 

This meeting comes in the light of the 2019 statistics, which state that approximately one in three offenders who are released from prison are likely to reoffend, once allowed back into society. This rate also alarmingly doubles for those who have been sentenced for less than one year, emphasising how easy it appears to be, to become trapped in the ‘offending cycle’.

Although it has been argued that many initiatives do not offer enough help for ex-offenders once integrated back in society, there is strong belief that the charity sector is making waves, in helping these people to get back on their feet.

One such man who has benefitted is Jay, who found himself with a fourteen month prison sentence, after developing a cocaine addiction at a young age, and destroying many meaningful relationships in the process. However Jay, who is also a skilled joiner and roofer, received the help of charities, and most recently, he was introduced to the Portslade-based charity Making it Out (MiO), upon his release.

MiO was started by Mark Whaley and Lucy Grubb three years ago in order to aid ex-offenders to learn and hone skills which will enable them to find work. Mark explained to the Mid Sussex times that their aim is to use creative activities to create a community for these ex-offenders, and in turn, re-define their status in society. In order to make progress with this idea, MiO offers a variety of options. For example, participating in a team project refurbishing a shop interior, or working alone in the charity’s workshop or art studio.

Most recently, the Wiston Estate, near Steyning, offered the charity a Sussex flintstone barn to use as a workshop and meeting centre – but only if they managed to mend the roof themselves. This gave Jay the perfect opportunity to utilise his prior skills, so that, not only will the work be completed by a more than useful set of hands, but this work will also help to navigate Jay’s journey back from the brink.

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