Jessica* was referred to Alana House’s Enrich programme in 2021 when she was released from prison after serving 23 years for murder. Jessica is on a life licence and her probation officer recognised that she would need support to reintegrate herself into society. Jessica entered prison as a young woman and felt extremely scared and lost when released in her fifties, especially as this was during the coronavirus pandemic.
A support worker at Alana House identified Jessica’s support needs with her, and together they worked on her support plan and her empowerment radar. Key support needs were: housing, benefits, independent living skills, physical health and family, friends and relationships.
- Secure long term accommodation
- Improve independent living skills and self-confidence
- Apply for benefits including Personal Independence Payments
- Manage finances
- Effective engagement in one-to-one sessions with a keyworker
The Alana House support worker met with Jessica’s probation officer, the local authority’s housing department, the outreach worker from the approved premises and a care co-ordinator to work together to enable Jessica to be housed safely with wrap-around support. The support worker attended several house viewings with Jessica including supported living accommodation. Jessica had been placed in temporary accommodation after leaving the approved premises but this was not suitable for her physical health conditions so it was important to find secure long-term accommodation. The support worker helped Jessica to complete the housing register so that she could bid for properties online. This was challenging as Jessica had no knowledge of using online devices or accessing services.
The support worker bid on properties each week on behalf of Jessica. A suitable property was eventually found and Jessica moved into her new ground floor accommodation in July this year. Alana House also funded a removal man to assist Jessica and applied for grants for white goods for the flat.
Jessica’s physical health has been deteriorating and she has asked for privacy to not disclose any diagnoses. The Alana House support worker, the probation officer and other professionals were worried as Jessica had several occasions of serious injuries to her face and body and slurring of her speech. Jessica stated she was falling regularly and her medication was to blame for her speech.
Further exploration from Alana House’s support worker and the outreach worker found that her daughter and her daughter’s partner were living with her and had taken control of her finances and home. Probation were notified and, after joint meetings, it was decided that Jessica’s licence should be changed to a bespoke licence to ensure that her daughter could not harm her further. The support worker liaised with the rent officer to stop Jessica from being evicted as the rent payments had been stopped by her daughter and the money stolen. Referrals to Adult Social Care and Launchpad were made to further support Jessica in remaining safely in her home.
Jessica did not want to engage at the start of her support as she had learnt to be self-sufficient while in prison and protect herself from other women. Despite these challenges, the Alana House support worker successfully built up a supportive professional relationship with Jessica that has enabled her to build on her resilience and strengths. Jessica’s confidence has grown and this has resulted in her being able to voice her needs and set firmer boundaries around herself.
* Name changed for confidentiality
I want to thank Alana House and especially my support worker for all of their support. My support worker is brilliant, I have no other words to express it, this says it all. When I was released into an area I did not know, it was very scary and isolating. Being referred to Alana House gave me a safety net. It made me feel that I had someone to rely on and know that help was there when I needed it. If I had not had the support from Alana House, I would not have survived. I would have been sent back to prison.