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https://prisonjobs.blog.gov.uk/2021/09/02/from-being-on-probation-to-working-for-probation/

From being on probation to working for probation

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Personal stories, Probation

Photograph of Alison with a quote that says "I'd been caught in a negative cycle, but I broke that cycle and set new goals for myself."

I vividly remember when I was arrested. I was 49 and I thought I’d lost everything, and my life was over.

Alison Henderson, a 56-year-old mum from Stoneycroft, Liverpool, was sentenced to a six months’ Community Order after pleading guilty to Threatening Behaviour. She successfully completed her order at the women’s Turnaround centre, and she believes being sentenced to probation enabled her to prevent repeat behaviours, get her ‘dream job’, and see a brighter future.

After completing her order, the mum-of-two studied psychology, criminology and sociology before volunteering with probation, which involved her helping offenders with debt management, accommodation and personal issues.

Alison is now an Administrative Officer and Unpaid Work Supervisor at the Probation Service’s city centre office in Boundary Street.

She said:

I committed the offence when I was desperately trying to keep my family together, but circumstances beyond my control led to my irrational response.

....

The Probation Service partners with specialist women’s centres to protect the public by working with offenders to stop the cycle of reoffending.

Alison, who had never previously been in trouble with the law, said:

The judge told me to ‘take what probation offers with both hands’ and his advice helped me change my life.

Probation gave me the support I needed. I’d been caught in a negative cycle, but I broke that cycle and set new goals for myself.

I was encouraged to study, to volunteer and to seize opportunities to create a new positive life.

Alison received a range of support on probation, from supervision through to attending a women’s centre, receiving services from partner agencies and working with Apex, a charity that supports people into volunteer roles and education. Alison’s voluntary role helped her get the experience she needed to get a job with probation in 2017.

She added:

I absolutely love my job because every day I help someone accomplish something positive and I find that so fulfilling.

Rosie Goodwin, Assistant Chief Officer at the North West Probation Service, said:

People often mistakenly think probation is a soft option. However, being on probation and forced to address the reasons why you offended – that can be a lot tougher than a short period in a prison cell with no time to address your offence.

Alison kept her accommodation, worked on her domestic issues and pulled out all the stops to get her dream job.

It takes courage and determination to turn your life around and that is just what Alison did.

Alison added:

If I could meet the judge who sentenced me, I’d thank him because he offered me the opportunity to change my life and I am now proud and very happy with my achievements.

Two weeks in prison would’ve just meant I’d have come out with the same problems I had and no direction. Probation gave me that push to restart my life.

I hope my story shows how important it is to give people a second chance.

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