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Ireland

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Caring for Ex-offenders

How we work

 

Caring for Ex-Offenders coordinates a link between someone coming out of prison and their local church community in order to better assist the individual’s successful resettlement into society. CFEO does this by training a Caring for Ex-Offenders team in a church near to where an ex-offender is relocating, in order to mentor and support them. The mentor establishes a relationship with the individual whilst they are still in prison, visits them if possible, meets them at the gate on release, helps them attend initial appointments and obtain basic needs.

Integrating into a community after time spent in prison can be a daunting challenge, and every individual requires a number of necessary elements to successfully live a transformed life. The Caring for Ex-Offenders team signposts ex-offenders to the resources that can help them achieve housing, employment, education, recovery from addictions, family relationships, healthcare, and debt and benefits advice. Local churches also offer a variety of resources, and willing congregation members are available to assist and direct ex-offenders through these areas, including writing CVs, filling in forms and going to interviews.

Through these opportunities and steps, each CFEO team is able to offer friendship and help individuals recently released from prison purposefully achieve their goals for resettlement, be less likely to offend, and live as a part of a stable community.


What happens


1. An ex-offender who wishes to be linked to a local church upon their release from prison to get help with resettlement completes one of our referral forms.

2. We obtain risk and needs assessments from a member of prison staff and the probation officer

3. We contact a church on our network that is a suitable place for the ex-offender, near to where they are relocating. We ask the church if they are in a position at that time to support this individual

4. If they agree, we then pass on the ex-offender’s details. If not, we try another church on our network in the area until we find one that can offer adequate support and is willing to help. We also inform the ex-offender that they have been linked to a church, and provide them with their assigned mentor’s name

5. A member of the church CFEO team contacts the ex-offender whilst they are still in prison, tries to visit, and on release personally meets them at the gate

6. The mentor meets with the ex-offender regularly to help with any of the practicalities of resettlement. Caring for Ex-Offenders staff are available to answer queries and assist the church in any way to offer this support

7. We contact the church at intervals to assess the progress of the relationship and check if they need any further support. We can then update the prison chaplain and/or probation if they wish to hear how the individual is doing.