Raising the Bars

Posted by on Apr 14, 2013 in Film, Funding, Issues, Media

We’ve been on a film shoot this week for Raising the Bars. This exciting new program is designed to tackle the UK’s high re-offending rate for prisoners.

But before we get into the program, lets start with some stats:prison-guard-404_673988c

  • 75% of prisoner re-offend within 2 years
  • The cost of keeping a young person in prison is £100k a year ( adults vary from £30k – £50k )
  • The current prison bill is somewhere between £9 and 13 billion a year…..AND our prisons are running out of space

Bearing in mind when we’re talking about cost we haven’t factored in the cost of ex offenders failing to find work and being supported by the benefit system or all the other costs that spiral out of unhappy individuals, unable to contribute to society.

So the question is… if we’re spending so much money, why the poor results?

Having interviewed the three partners behind Raising the Bars (Beyond Youth, Home Connections and the St Giles Trust), two main factors struck me:

1. Offending is a symptom of underlying issues – treat the symptom and not the cause and prison has a revolving door
2. The agencies who play an integral part in lifting ex offenders out of habitual crime (those offering training or support to find housing and work ) don’t talk to each other

So prisoners leave without the emotional tools to cope with or change their lives and then quickly fall through the many gaps in the system back into familiar patterns of behaving.

How will Raising the Bars address these issues? Beyond Youths’ successful Chance to Change program offers intense Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to self referred participants in prison and a mentor to transition them from inside to outside. Choice based social housing specialist Home Connections will have accommodation waiting and St Giles Trust with Trusted Source, (specialist ex offenders recruitment services) will have open minded employers lined up.

With your mind facing in the right direction, housing and employment agencies with experience and passion working in collaboration to fill the gaps there is real hope for lasting chance. Happy, stable clients in meaningful work begin the process of pay back into the system and an upward spiral of positivity that can ripple through families and into communities.

In the words of Beyond Youth founder Emma Morris ” it’s not a case of can we afford to commission Raising the Bars, but can we afford not to”

Who was on the crew: Film maker and activist Oonagh Cousins, YH Creatives Daniel Gordon & Rolando Allen ( both referrals through the youth offending team )

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/23093503 w=500&h=281]

UK Uncut: How To Do A Bank Bail-In from Revolting Productions on Vimeo.

Who we interviewed:  Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Brener at The Priory, Founder of Beyond Youth; Emma Morris about Chance to Change and therapeutic intervention for offenders; and two mentors and ex-offenders Curtis & Pam. Home Connections have talked us through their choice based social housing approach and the St Giles Trust have explained why you need the right employers.