On release from prison some clients have little or no support framework. This program will match a released offender with a mentor which will be a support person to guide and assist the client in their journey of reintegration.
The mentor could be an ex prisoner or a volunteer from the general public. Mentors are not friends, life coaches or peers but suitably trained supports and will be matched to an offender. Training and advice will be provided by PIVOT who will also provide clinical support.
The Mentor/Mentee/Supervisor structure is viewed as a triangular relationship with communication and support flowing between all parties.
Mentors are introduced to the prisoner (Mentee) while they are still in jail and work on developing a rapport, the introduction is done as part of the PIVOT re-entry program.
PIVOT will provide financial, administrative and corporate support to the program. Importantly it will provide a case worker who will provide a case plan and oversee the relationship between mentor and mentee. This has several benefits in that it ensures boundaries for the relationship between the parties, all parties have the opportunity to debrief about the program, the case plan remains relevant and there is a clinical framework around the program.
Our clients, in the main, have low levels of education and work experience, they have a high incidence of mental health and substance abuse issues. These factors and the fact that they have a criminal record make it difficult to find housing and employment as well as dealing with the effects of social stigma. It is important the relationships in this program work to reduce that stigma associated with being an ex-prisoner and gives that prisoner a “helping hand” when faced with issues associated with this stigma.
For a lot of prisoners the biggest barrier to successful reintegration is the environment of family and/or friends which can be a negative influence on the client. A good relationship with a mentor will give the client a positive role model with positive influence, and someone to turn to when these environmental factors are causing concern.
The mentor can also provide transport and ensure that the client is reminded of, and is able to attend, meetings and appointments on time. The mentor can also help with issues arising due to poor literacy or mental health issues.
The mentor cannot be the only support mechanism available to the client. PIVOT will develop relationships with other service providers and allied groups in the region which will provide activities, support, practical solutions, employment and housing. PIVOT has developed a First Steps program which will provide all these activities and support within the first four weeks of a prisoners release; it is envisaged that the mentors and mentees are part of this program.
It is envisaged that the mentors will meet regularly as a group to debrief and discuss issues and innovations.
The program will continue with PIVOT support for up to twelve months from the date of the prisoner’s release.
The program will commence within six months of the prisoners release date and continue with PIVOT support and funding for up to twelve months after release, the content of the program will include, but not be limited to:
- Development and delivery of training and awareness sessions for mentor volunteers
- Meetings between the mentor and mentee prior to release
- The development of a detailed case plan for release
- An introductory/orientation session being held at the PIVOT office with the mentor mentee and case manager
- Engagement with the PIVOT First Steps program
- Group sessions for mentors and mentees as required
- Regular meetings with mentor, mentee and case worker
- Ongoing and regular supervision from a PIVOT case worker
- Development of mentees to become mentors
Service Level Outcomes
Service level outcomes for the participant and the greater community include:
- Added support during the integration journey
- A positive role model for the client, and someone to discuss issues and provide advice
- Added resources (volunteers) for PIVOT to deliver its re-entry program, particularly during the first steps phase
- Opportunity for ex-prisoners that want to act as mentors
- The program will have the following service level outcomes
- Offenders have effective transitional planning and support services for successful reintegration into the community