Circle’s role within the Shine partnership is the involvement of the FABI Project supporting women pre and post release from prison and their families in the community. Linda has been known to the FABI Project, following self-referral through Shine’s Women’s Mentoring Service whilst Linda was serving a 19 month prison sentence in in HMP Edinburgh. I was allocated as Linda’s Shine Mentor to help build her self-esteem and confidence and provide both practical and emotional support to address Linda’s isolation within the community. I have supported Linda to develop her independence and quality of life by improving her social skills and motivation and working towards addressing a life free of offending.
I have worked with Linda on three occasions, she fully engaged when in prison and gate pick-up the first 2 times, however there had been no community engagement. On the third occasion Linda continued to engage well with the service offered, making most planned meetings and accessing additional support when required. This reflects within the Shine service that we do not give up on women and continue to offer support to women who haven’t previously engaged.
At 9am this morning I was waiting at HMP Polmont for Linda to be released after serving a 4 month custodial sentence. Over the past 2 months I have visited Linda 4 times to provide her with information about Shine, continue to build a relationship and discuss support I will provide once Linda is back out in the community. On my last visit I completed a pre-release preparation plan with Linda where we discussed support I will provide once Linda is back out in the community. Linda appeared to be keen to engage upon release from prison. During the visit I agreed to complete a liberation day pick up and we completed the details of Linda’s plan for release, which included housing, benefits, health issues and parenting support.
Once Linda was released she was feeling a bit anxious and overwhelmed with adjusting back into life within the community as well as excited to be out. I provided Linda was support to ensure she knew she wasn’t alone and that I will be here with her through every step of the way. For many years Linda has been in and out of prison however this time she lost the support from her father so found this sentence even more difficult. Linda reported that she was keen to break the cycle and work towards a life free of offending. In the past Linda has always asked the judge to give her a custodial sentence as she feels safe and secure in prison however Linda has reported new motivation to get her life back on track and regain contact with her 14 year old son.
Firstly we discussed housing, Linda decided to stay with her boyfriend but I will support her to obtain her own tenancy in the same area. I then supported Linda to apply for Universal Credits, this was a daunting experience for Linda as she has never used a computer before and also has literacy issues. All claims for Universal Credit are now done online so for people who don’t have access to a computer or find it challenging to use electronic devices this can be a barrier to them applying for benefits. Once Linda’s claim was set up we were able to arrange her face to face initial claim meeting for Monday.
Linda has a long history of drugs use and mental health problems however since being in prison she has remained abstinent from illicit drugs. Linda suffers from ADHD, Anxiety and is a Paranoid Schizophrenic, she was released with 3 days prescribed medication however she was not provided with her ADHD medication due to the potential risks this may pose. I arranged and supported Linda to attend a doctor’s appointment where she was giving a prescription, referred to the Psychiatrist to manage her mental Health within the Community and got a medical certificate for her DWP appointment.
After Linda’s doctor’s appointment I took her shopping so she could buy food before dropping her back home. We discussed the risks of potential overdose if Linda relapses back to drug use and discussed a referral to Fife Intensive Rehabilitation & Substance Misuse Team (FIRST) who provide a support service to individuals with drug and alcohol addiction in Fife. Linda was reluctant to engage with FIRST however I explained to Linda that she would benefit from relapse prevention support. I arranged to visit Linda again on Monday and support her to attend her initial Universal Credit appointment at the Job Centre.
I then head back to the office where I then made some phone calls before updating the online databases.