About this program
The first few weeks of a prisoner’s release is often the most difficult. The move from a structured environment to the outside world is fraught with pitfalls for the unaware and unprepared, even the best plans and intentions can be derailed by external influences.
Prisoners in the six months prior to release come into scope for the PIVOT re-entry program, in these six months prisoners are prepared for release. The level of support differs depending on the needs of the prisoner.
The re-entry program addresses the basic needs of the client in getting ready for release and offers support for twelve months post release. The program relies on the voluntary engagement of the client and for the client to ring us if there is an issue, it is often too late to assist at that stage.
The First Steps program provides a plan for intensive supervision of a client on release for the first four weeks. During that time a case manager, and in some instances a mentor, will help the client engage in a series a positive activities to keep engaged, active and maintain a high level of self-esteem. Often on release a prisoner is in the best physical condition they have been in for a long time and highly motivated to successfully reintegrate. The First Steps program will assist in maintaining these positive attributes.
There are some key things that need to be done on release which include employment, housing and relationships. If someone does not have a meeting with a job provider for three weeks after release and nothing to do until then there is a susceptibility for relapse. First Steps will ensure the client is positively engaged in activities during that period that will help keep a positive attitude and assist in making them job ready.
In some cases the program will link in with the PIVOT Helping Hands and Compass programs.
- The incidence of client relapse on being released will be reduced
- Clients will have a better chance of engaging with employment and other providers
- Successfully completing the program will give clients a better chance of not reoffending in the long term.
- Recidivism will be reduced
The program will vary from client to client and include but not be limited to:
- The development of a detailed First Steps program plan prior to release
- The matching of a client with a mentor from the Helping Hands or Compass program
- An initial introduction/orientation meeting at the PIVOT office on release
- Access to community programs held at PIVOT
- Community support as a re-entry program participant
The main tool of the First Steps program is the release plan. This plan is developed with the prisoner while still in the prison, it is developed in partnership between the PIVOT support worker and the prisoner with input from the mentor and clinical supervisor.
The plan would be part of a larger transition plan which maps the prisoner’s journey six months to release and twelve months after release.
The intent of a specific release plan is to provide a range of activities which will assist the prisoner towards reintegration in the first four weeks of release
In developing the plan there are a number of key areas and resources which can be accessed to meet the specific needs of the prisoner. The list below identifies a range of these areas, however, it is not an exhaustive list and areas specific to the client should be introduced as they arise. The plan is also not “set in stone”, it can be amended as circumstances change.
Service Level Outcomes
The program will have the following service level outcomes:
- Offenders have effective transitional planning and support services for successful reintegration into the community
- Offenders have increased motivation to establish and maintain pro-social lifestyles
- Offenders have increased access to meaningful and stable engagement in employment, education, training or other vocational activities in the community
- Offenders have improved access to suitable and sustainable housing
- Offenders experience improved family relationships and personal networks
- Offenders have increased understanding and awareness of how to maintain good physical health and wellbeing