The view from inside

St Giles Trust's prison-based Peer Advisors offer much-needed advice and guidance services to other prisoners serving sentences. The aim of our Peer Advisor Programme in custody is to help prisoners with their resettlement needs, support prisons through increasing the level of support available and enable those who train as Peer Advisors to increase their skills and employment prospects. Both Ryan and Sean are working as Peer Advisors through our work in Welsh prisons. These two uplifting poems give an insight into their work and experiences.

“38 Months” were the words from the judge,
A sense of shock washed over me, but I felt no grudge.
The fear of the unknown is what bugged me the most,
Taking one last glance at mother who was as white as a
ghost.
From there it’s one big blur,
The cuffing, registering and procedures that have to occur.
Before I find myself strutting wearily through a busy
daunting wing and thrown into a cell,
With only five words circling my brain ‘this is a living
hell!’
But I was here now, and needed to make a difference,
So I sat in my chair and filled out applications,
Posting there here there and everywhere.
After some time there was a spark of success,
There was a job interview for me which relieved some stress.
I was to be a resettlement mentor who would help inmates
with all sorts of issues,
From housing, to drug abuse, some guys with some teary
tissues.
But this is something I could do and knew I wouldn’t fail,
For I could give these guys hope for when they get out of
jail.

Sean

Checking in at HMP,
There were 6 other guys who were so friendly.
I was scared walking down to induction wing,
Where the alarm went off, bing bing bing!
2 lads were fighting and this was my first day,
What have I got myself into, I hope I’ll be ok.
The officer gave me a sweet pack and £2 on my phone,
I rang my family and said ‘I want to come home’
Completed induction and was put on D Wing,
People shouting out their cells ‘it’s a new boy ting!’
Cell with a lad from London,
He was very upset saying he misses his son.
I made him a coffee and said everything will be alright,
It’s our first time in jail, let’s get over the first night.
St Giles Trust came to my cell to complete my BCST2,
I explained I was ex-forces and asked ‘can I work for you?’
I passed my interview and it all went well,
I just wanted to help people and they could tell.
Helping people with their housing issues and paying rent,
So on release from custody, they weren’t going back to a tent.
Having meetings with ex-forces who has PTSD,
But some would come for the free coffee.
Helping inmates out with their problems and issues,
I wish my family knew how much I miss you.
I’ve changed as a person since being in jail,
I’ve completed my NVQ level 3 in advice and guidance which is a pass or a fail.
I hope I pass and get the degree,

So when I leave jail and I help struggling families.

Ryan