Specialist areas: Criminal Justice | Crime Prevention | Crime intervention | Community Cohesion | Youth Mentoring
At the beginning of my journey I had a unrealistic view on the aftermath of crime as I set out to change my life in a positive way. As a first time offender released into the community after serving an 8 year custodial sentence for drug offences (which I was guilty of) I knew that I wanted nothing more than to turn a negative into a positive. I was released with a plan, a plan to get some stability in my life and make up for the wrong decisions I had made in the past....... I learned quite early on that the challenges I faced where coming in my direction more than I ever could have anticipated.
I tried to gain employment by taking up voluntary positions as a way of proving myself, but soon experienced just exactly what the word 'discrimination' meant and how it present's itself. It was really difficult at times to comprehend all the happenings upon release but one thing was for sure, I had to find a way at working towards my passion whilst also trying to protect myself from the discrimination faced as an ex-offender. I had experienced a lot over the previous years in custody and I knew the importance of preventing young people from udertaking criminal activities.
Both myself and business partner kemi Ryan (also sister) had been designing workshops for a number of years and drawing from first hand experiences, we created interactive workshops aimed to educate and deter young people from crime.
I have experienced and seen many examples where the aftermath of crime regresses a person rather than progress a person and I believe its a sad thing when a person is up against so many obstacles when trying to turn their life around, shouldn't the obstacles be in place for the people not wanted to make those changes?
At times, life in general was difficult but I lived in hope. As well as employment issues I faced an array of other issues relating to the aftermath of crime, it was then I realised that I had too much experience to just focus on prevention. I had to take into account people in positions like myself, people who wanted to make a change in their life but where prevented due to their conviction/s and also the employers who for whatever reasons were not willing to take anyone on with a record. It was also apparent that services for women with convictions were some what limited and the majority of preventative services were aimed at men. My passion from the outset was to deter young people from a life of crime and for me this was and still is a big problem. With me being female, I knew the importance of recognising the need for female support just as much as male support.
My passion was brewing by the day, whenever I experienced a situation of discrimination or exploitation it gave me determination to create a platform in which I could make people see the truth. I sat back at times trying to justify what would make people treat people in such manners but kept coming back to the same answer, it unjustifiable....
And here I am now working with a big vision for reformed, a vision created through the everyday livings with the aftermath of crime, with which we aim to educate ,inspire, prevent and break down barriers into employment for people with convictions.