Through the Gate: Shelter supporting Sheena back into the community

Through the Gate: Shelter supporting Sheena back into the community image

Humberside Lincolnshire & North Yorkshire CRC (HLNY) commissions Shelter to run the Through The Gate service across Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire.

Through The Gate makes sure that each prisoner has a resettlement plan starting before their release to prepare them for leaving jail. Our aim is to make sure that they do not reoffend. The service we commission aims to assess the needs of people in prison so that following release they can successfully rehabilitate in their community.

Almost half of all adults leaving prison are reconvicted within a year and Shelter’s offender management and rehabilitation service focuses on building strong relationships with service users, providing long-term support to promote positive outcomes and reduce reoffending.

A charity, Shelter works closely with HLNY CRC, the National Probation Service, police and other criminal justice and resettlement agencies.

Working with Shelter, HLNY CRC’s Through the Gate service aims to work with prisoners to carry out an analysis of an individual’s circumstances with regards to their needs within the seven custodial pathways identified to reduce reoffending, including accommodation; finance, benefits and debt; employment, training and educational advice; health; drugs and alcohol; children and families and attitudes, thinking and behaviours.

Information from all pathways and interventions is contained within the resettlement plan which follows the individual through the gate for continued support post release.

One offender to benefit from the support of Shelter was Sheena, who received a custodial sentence in June 2017. Prior to this Sheena had been sofa surfing for numerous years relying on friends for accommodation around Rotherham and Sheffield area. Sheena attended her pre-release assessment where she advised that she would again be of no fixed abode upon release.

Shelter assessed Sheena as being low in support needs and was able to maintain a tenancy herself. Shelter’s Andy Kirk said: “We talked about supported accommodation in her local connection area of Rotherham, but Sheena was anxious about being placed in hostel accommodation where previous associates and negative influences were known to be residing or accessing support.

“We supported Sheena with considering the private sector and details of local landlords were provided so that potential accommodation could be viewed on her release on temporary licence (ROTL).”

During her ROTL at her father’s address Shelter established an improved relationship and decided to concentrate on applying for social housing rather than accessing the unsecure private sector, using her father’s as a temporary address upon release.

Shelter liaised with the Housing Options team at Rotherham Council and arranged an appointment for the Sheena to visit their offices to meet the prison leaver’s lead. Shelter also supplied a supporting letter explaining Sheena’s circumstances and her local connection to the Rotherham area prior to the appointment and liaised with her father as to what actions we were taking.

During the appointment with the prison leaver’s lead Sheena was registered on the council waiting list and placed in the highest banding. Although classed as a “transient placement” Sheena had temporary accommodation with family away from negative influences with the likelihood of secure social housing soon.

Shelter’s Andy Kirk said: “We reassured the Sheena that we would support her with securing accommodation and worked with her developing a plan that was both realistic and agreeable to her. By liaising with agencies and Sheena’s support network in the community the plan changed from trying to secure private rented accommodation to securing secure social housing.

“All agencies working with the Sheena and her family were continually talked through the process so that an agreed plan could be put in place which provided a positive outcome.”