The NSOCA’S prison mentoring focus group have now started to operate in some prisons with a high percentage of Black offenders, giving an opportunity and platform for offenders to be heard and helped on their journey back into the community. The prison mentoring focus group offers advice on how offenders can use their time wisely by learning new skills and escaping the gang mentality. The dialogue type forum takes the opportunity to let offenders look in the mirror, ‘how can I change, what can I do to break the cycle of reoffending, why am I wasting my life serving this long sentence?’
There was an ideal candidate locally for prison governors to call on, a former magistrate and trained facilitator in prison dialogue, and a member of the Caribbean community, Bernadette. She not only brings in years of experience with mentoring young and older offenders, she also has very good contacts within the Cultural community and calls them in to help and support her.
By doing this, serving prisoners can see that there is hope and another path to follow. Additionally, she follows up her prison visits and meets those released into the community with her team to remind them of their promises made in prison!