Insights Seetec Justice helps prisoner gain skills for success
29 October 2018

Seetec Justice helps prisoner gain skills for success

Seetec Justice prison workshop

Helping to get prisoners who have a mental health issue get back into work is a challenge. But as Dave’s story shows, it’s one Seetec Justice is addressing using an employment coach working alongside prisoners.

Dave never had paid employment before and felt apprehensive about getting a job because of his bipolar disorder.

But becoming eligible for release on temporary licence (ROTL) soon, he started looking for a prison job, so he could save money to support his family and pay for his travel home.

In prison, he secured a job as a cleaner working an hour each day. But the job did not pay enough to save much money and the short shift work was making his bipolar disorder worse.

A prison officer recommended Dave apply to work on the Seetec Justice and Remade with Hope workshops because he would receive support from an employment coach and a good prison wage. He did, and successfully secured a place.  

The workshops – which replicate real working environments – see prisoners de-branding clothing returns from high street retailers so that the products don’t find themselves onto the black market. Remade with Hope then sell the processed products at low prices to vendors in developing markets.

Gaining confidence to find employment post-release

Seetec Justice employment coach Juliet who works alongside the prisoners in the workshop quickly won Dave’s trust and assured him he would get support while learning new skills. She helped Dave to turn around his negative thinking about getting a job with a mental health illness by sharing an inspirational story about a friend who had bipolar disorder and was successful in her career.

While Dave would experience paranoia – a symptom of his disorder - he continued to attend the workshops, feeling he was supported and in a meaningful job.

When an opportunity arose, the supervisor asked Dave to deliver a talk to the Civil Service workshop about his work in prison to further increase his confidence. Juliet gave Dave moral support. Because Dave did an excellent job, the prison asked him to give further talks to students studying criminology.

Dave states: ‘The workshop supervisor and employment coach gave me the confidence to believe I can sustain a full-time job on release.  I have learnt to cope under pressure, hit deadlines, work in a team and embed quality practice in the workplace.’

Seetec Justice employment coach Juliet said: ‘The workshop and one-to-one support has helped Dave to overcome some of his fears about getting a job and given him the skills and confidence to succeed when he is released from prison.’

To learn more about Seetec and its work in prisons, contact us today