We first came into contact with Caitlin when she was released from prison. She has had a turbulent time battling mental health issues, a near fatal accident and resulting trauma. Since coming out of prison she was supported by our Yorkshire Footsteps team and has trained as a Peer Mentor. She is now employed on the Engaging People on Probation project helping others to rebuild their lives after prison. She is also a talented poet. She tells her experiences on life after prison here.
“My first year home after custody was a bit of a mishap. I found myself dipping my toe in and out of my old life. I was still finding myself at the end of every painful situation I was caught up in until I took decided to figure out what kind of persona I was giving to attract the kind of people I was attracting.
Just over a year later, my peer mentor in St Giles introduced me to a course. It consisted of learning how to become myself a peer mentor.
Myself and the others on the course have made friendships, trust and created a healthy work environment with people from lots of different backgrounds all accepting each other. Everyone has so much different knowledge and understanding to bring to each session.
Three months into our course we were invited to the first anniversary party of Footsteps a St Giles service helping women who are in the criminal justice system.
Whilst at the event I was given an amazing opportunity to share my story and poetry with others who attended.
I left grinning from ear to ear with the amazing opportunities I realised this had given me.
Meeting people at St Giles who have been eager to spread my story further than the event and get the message out there that if I can change my life, then honestly so can ANYBODY else. Coming from a girl who didn’t see any means to an end, but only wanted life to come to end. Becoming the woman I am today, I assure anyone reading this… If I can do it, you can do it! I saw my life unravel in front of me and I never thought this would be possible.
Since then, I have had a job interview to work alongside probation and help others see their full potential after custody.
I want to finish this by saying: to my old self – the girl who made me who I am today – I hope that you’re as happy as I am. We made it and I’m so glad we survived to see just how beautiful life was about to get.
To my probation worker, my therapist and my psychologist I can’t thank you enough for the support and faith you had in me to get me where I am today. And especially thank you to St Giles for giving me the opportunities to help others achieve the things I have.”