It’s around 5yrs ago I met Colin in HMP Leeds where I was working as the prison link in an integrated offender management team, and the police team were working with him to show him a different life to crime. Colin then in his early forties had been in and out of prison all of his life and was well known to the Bradford police, in fact on first name terms with many of them, such was his rate of offending.
However like most repeat offenders there comes a time when crime no longer looks an attractive option and ironically Colin was in the right place at the right time when he was offered another route which had never been put to him before. One which includes someone to help you make the simple decisions in life, but often decisions which could be the difference between incarceration or freedom. He had people around him who genuinely wanted to see him succeed, and one of those was Paul Baker the then Governor of Leeds who has gone on to be Area Manager For London prisons. Through Pauls innovative thinking Leeds prison became the leading category B prison in the country where rehabilitation is concerned, and Colin benefited from a scheme which at the time was unique in prisons like Leeds. A scheme which saw him attending from prison a place of work in Bradford, Haworth Scouring Company. This he did successfully for several months until his release, but such was his work rate and enthusiasm he was taken on full time.
Although after 3yrs Colin gave his job up due to ill health, he is still out of prison today and is considered an incredible success story by anyone in the criminal justice system who knows him, no one more so than the Bradford police officers who arrested him year on year for literally decades. I believe Colin had around 70 convictions to his name which gives you an idea of how prolific an offender he was.
For me this life changing opportunity only came about because the people involved were prepared to take a risk. These include Paul Baker, the police team and significantly the Curtis brothers who owned Haworth Scouring at that time.
From Tempus Novo, thanks for helping us to see a very different but hugely successful rehabilitation model, which we have been able to develop in to the ground breaking charity it now is.