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Bounce Back (www.bouncebackproject.com) was set
up as a response to the need for additional support to help ex-offenders
rehabilitate and find employment after their custodial sentences. Ex-offenders
face considerable challenges, including a very high unemployment rate which sees
75% claiming out-of-work benefits following their release. Research also shows
unemployed ex-offenders are twice as likely to re-offend.
Tom’s Trust is currently supporting their latest project “DIVERT”. (www.bouncebackproject.com/divert) Divert was specifically created by the Metropolitan Police Service to meet the needs of young people when they are arrested. It is a unique, award winning intervention programme aimed at reducing re-offending by diverting 18-25 year olds into education, skills training, development and employment opportunities leading them away from crime.
Divert’s ‘Specialist Custody Intervention Coaches’ meet individuals during the period immediately following their arrest whilst they are held in the custody suite at the police station which is an ideal opportunity to address vulnerabilities. Their role is to provide support and guidance which includes developing a plan that offers opportunities to move people away from crime and into positive opportunities. Divert sits outside the criminal justice process, conversations are confidential and their coaches are independent of the police investigation.
Bounce Back works in partnership with Divert to broaden the support package and opportunities. Operating in 5 London prisons as well as in the community with a focus on skills training and support into employment our role in the project is to work with the coaches to engage with individuals in one of 2 ways. If they do go to prison after they are arrested, Bounce Back can support and train them in custody and work with them as a regular point of contact through to release. Alternatively, if people don’t receive a custodial sentence, and remain in the community Bounce Back provides training and offers joint support for the individuals to gain skills or employment.