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Personal stories: Kelly

From drug addict to Recovery Worker thanks to Probation Officer’s support

A service user has successfully addressed her drug addiction and secured a paid job as a Recovery Worker thanks to the extra top up supervision and support provided by one of our Probation Officers after a short-prison sentence.

Kelly was convicted for her first offence – shoplifting – at the age of 29.

Far from acting as a deterrent, the resulting sentences were a prelude to a life of crime for Kelly. During the next decade, Kelly amassed 35 convictions and spent four spells in prison. Her offending stemmed from a heroin and crack cocaine addiction, which started when she was only 19. Initially, Kelly had taken drugs to numb the pain of losing her mum, but soon after she was taking them all the time. She was hooked.

Kelly says: ‘The cycle was always the same. I’d shoplift to pay for drugs and be back in front of the courts. I was happiest when they gave me a custodial sentence because it was only a matter of weeks before I was free again without any supervision and could start taking drugs.’

The rate of recidivism provides compelling evidence that something had to change for this prolific reoffender. And luckily, it did in 2015.  

Kelly was given an 84 day prison sentence, but this time, due to a change in the law, she was also given a period of licence and supervision with KSS CRC, lasting a total of 12 months.

During this time, Jodie, her Probation Officer, was able to use KSS CRC’s framework My Solution Rehabilitation Programme to help instil a change in Kelly.

My Solution Rehabilitation Programme is designed to challenge attitudes, change behaviours and develop the skills necessary to achieve a crime-free life.

Kelly says: ‘Jodie had a different approach where she was helping me identify areas I needed to change. She helped me look at other strategies and brainstormed with me, so it gave me food for thought. I was taking that little bit more from what Jodie was saying with every appointment.’

‘She was never judgemental and I could tell she had faith in me to turn things around. Also, she would listen to what I had to say and challenge me, even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. She helped me to break down barriers so that I had the strength to say enough was enough and to make the changes myself.’

During their meetings, Jodie helped Kelly to address her drug addiction – the main trigger behind her offending. She was put on a script which she has managed to slowly reduce from 12ml to 6ml.

Kelly says: ‘All the tests probation did for drugs since I’ve left prison were negative – a first for me in more than a decade.’

Jodie also helped Kelly with budgeting skills and finding suitable accommodation. Two other areas important to reduce her risk of reoffending.

Kelly’s progress so impressed a prison governor that he recently asked Kelly to become one of their Recovery Workers– which is a paid job.

Kelly says: ‘I have the upmost respect for my Probation Officer and everything she has helped me to do. I am now looking forward to a brighter and happier future.’