“Could I have a word, I’m feeling a bit paranoid, you know, not sure if I’m gonna do it, do you think I can this time?”

You can imagine the Daily Newspaper headline… ‘Old lag not sure if he can go straight – We say just stop nicking and pay your taxes. Simples!’

His worry is genuine, reinforced by years and years of doing time, several large sentences behind him; history suggests he will reoffend.

Many of the men at LandWorks have similar stories, for some, years of serious crime; in fact we now have a thriving over 50s club, of which I am very happy to be a member.

We often try to explain (maybe too regularly in this blog) that ‘offender’ (correct modern term) or ‘prisoner’ (non-pc term) portrays to most folk a ‘Simples’ solution…Lock them up, categorise by using one label, problem solved, so society doesn’t really have to think about them.

Not solved at all. Britain has a prison population of around 85,000.

85,000 different life stories and, from what we see every day the current prison system manages to…

  • Reduce staff levels to a point of crisis.
  • Force families into extraordinary difficult circumstances.
  • Remove personal responsibility.
  • Focus on weakness and failings.
  • Institutionalise people.
  • Break people.

Understanding a life story takes time and needs trust; at LandWorks we work hard at building individual relationships.

LandWorks is a safe place to be vulnerable, yes, but also a place were we build on strengths, rather than focus on just what they lack.

We develop individual support plans. You are encouraged to take responsibility for your resettlement; together we build an agreed plan for your time here and beyond release.

One of the reasons I am proud to be in the over 50’s club or any other affiliation to do with LandWorks is that I meet so many men who have found a genuine honesty about themselves. A rarity and I like that.

So do I think he can do it this time? Definitely, I knew that from our first handshake.