Banged up and Left to Fail

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    • 00:34

      NATALIE ATKINSON: My name's Natalie Atkinson.I seem like any other 24-year-old.But, there's something a lot of people don't know about me.It's a list of your criminal convictions- battery,damage, theft, assaulting a police officer.Throughout my teenage years, I was a persistent offender,

    • 00:55

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: constantly in and out of police cells,and once I turned 18, prison.Looking back now, thinking about the time that I spent in here,it's just mad.It's like, it was my life.I'm just thankful it's not still going on now.I really regret my past behavior,and wish I hadn't done the things I did.

    • 01:15

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: But repeated short sentences didn't rehabilitate me.Prison made me worse.I think the whole point of prison is about punishment,but it's also about rehabilitation.I wasn't rehabilitated.Not a chance.I was just punished, I was contained, I was held,and then let out.End of.I'm not alone.

    • 01:36

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: Nearly 60% of adults serving short sentenceswill re-offend within a year of release.

    • 01:41

      ELLIOT: Probably end up in prison again,and I don't want to go back to prison.

    • 01:45

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I want to find out why so many of usare coming out--Hello are you all right?--only to go straight back in.

    • 01:52

      MARTIN: I don't want to go back to jail.I don't want to commit another crime.But, I maybe, maybe might.

    • 01:57

      SEPHTON: If I don't have support,I know I'm going to re-offend.

    • 02:09

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Oh, it's freezing.I've moved on a lot since my offending days.And get this, I'm even studying a Policing, Investigation,and Criminology degree.This is the house I share with three of my uni friendsin Carlisle.Growing up, I never thought I'd have a settled home.

    • 02:29

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: I just like things nice and tidy.As a troubled 12-year-old in Lancaster,I was taken into care and moved constantlybetween children's homes, foster placements, and secure units.[INAUDIBLE] Children's Home, [INAUDIBLE] Road, Riedel House.I'm 24 now, and I'd say from about the age of 13,I've lived in about 25 different addresses, easy.

    • 02:55

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: A third of kids in care end up in custody.And I was one of them.I started hanging around in Lancaster Centre,and getting into trouble with the police.Soon after my fourteenth birthday,I was sent to a secure unit, a place where children go insteadof prison.I felt lonely, afraid, with me, I

    • 03:16

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: got used to it after so many times.I just got used to it and just start accepted it.Locking me up didn't stop me offending when I got out.I ended up serving repeated short sentences.I want to find out how being locked upaffects other young adults and speak to those in chargeto see what they think of the system.

    • 03:40

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: But there's something I need to do first.Until now, I've kept my background a secret, especiallyfrom my classmates on my criminology course.But, it's time for me to come clean.Telling people that I've got a criminal recordis one of the hardest things ever.You don't know how they are going to react.

    • 04:02

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: So, a lot of the people in our courseactually want to be police officers.Some are special constables, already.I actually feel sick to my stomach.

    • 04:14

      STUDENT 1: That's correct.

    • 04:15


    • 04:19

      ASHER: So, if I hand over to Natalie,come on down here Natalie, and then it's easier to--

    • 04:25

      NATALIE ATKINSON: It's now, or never.This isn't awkward.So, a bit of background about me,I went into care at about 12-13.I eventually escalated into the youth justice system.Within four months, I was a persistent young offender.I've got a hundred and something offenses,a lot for police assaults.

    • 04:47

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: It's time for me to admit who I am.I'm not ashamed of who I am, who I've grown up to be.I want to use my past in order to like,help people that are currently experiencewhat I used to experience.People that are still in the system.A lot of people think that there no hopeand that they are not going to achieve in life.So I want to stand as an example that yeah, Ihave been heavily involved in the criminal justice system,

    • 05:07

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: but, I'm still a human being.I've still got emotions so, I can do something to change.I've hid this from them for two years,and I don't know how they'll react.

    • 05:23

      STUDENT 2: Why do you think that you like, assaulted policeofficers a lot?

    • 05:27

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Because, when I went into care,my family lost the right to like, tell me what to do.They had no authority over me at that point.Obviously, police are authority figures.The minute I connected with a police officer I thought,you're not going to control me in any way.

    • 05:41

      ASHER: I have a perspective on that.I'm an ex-police officer.I don't appreciate people assaulting my ex-colleagues.I didn't appreciate being assaulted myselfwhen I was a police officer.But, everyone's got a responsibility to say OK,people can change.People can bring their lives around.

    • 05:59

      STUDENT 2: For me to sit here and say I wasn't a bit shocked,that's a bit of an understatement but, I think,for you to do this, it shows your character.I think you've been really strong,and I think you've handled it really well.

    • 06:12

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Ah, thank you.[APPLAUSE]

    • 06:17

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Asher's been my tutorsince I started at university, and he's supported methrough thick and thin.

    • 06:23

      ASHER: I think you were very brave doing that.I know it wasn't easy for you to do.But, I think with all the experienceyou are in such a much better position to help people.You offenders, to overcome the problems,and recognize there is actually a way outof the offending cycle.

    • 06:41

      NATALIE ATKINSON: And, I know that Iwill end up with a job in the criminal justice system.

    • 06:45

      ASHER: I still think, that the Natalie I know,the Natalie who's been working hard at university,would make a good police officer.I know it's not going to happen.It can't happen, and you don't want it to happen.

    • 06:58


    • 06:59


    • 07:01

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Growing up, I would have said,if someone asked me what my job would have been,I'd have been a police officer.

    • 07:07

      ASHER: But then, that trust between you and the policewas destroyed.And, we have to acknowledge to your--

    • 07:15

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Oh yeah.

    • 07:17

      ASHER: --your behavior.

    • 07:23

      NATALIE ATKINSON: A large part of my criminal convictiondo involve police officers, assaulting police officers.I feel really guilty now, that I was the way that I used to be.But, there was no controlling me.There's no telling me.I've come to see my old police communitysupport officer John Miller.The last time he saw me, I was scrapping with in the street

    • 07:46

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: in Lancaster Town Centre.Oh fucking hell.What do I say?Hi, nice to see you.No, it's not awkward at all.Hello.

    • 08:05

      JOHN MILLER: Hi Natalie, are you doing all right?

    • 08:06

      NATALIE ATKINSON: All right, you?

    • 08:06

      JOHN MILLER: Well you're looking really good.

    • 08:07

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Nice to see you.

    • 08:09

      JOHN MILLER: Nice to see you again.What you been up to?

    • 08:10

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Not a lot.

    • 08:12

      JOHN MILLER: No?Keeping out of trouble.

    • 08:12


    • 08:13

      JOHN MILLER: Yeah, yeah then.Well, done.I don't really recognize you now.You're--

    • 08:17


    • 08:18

      JOHN MILLER: Totally different.Oh, yeah.

    • 08:20

      NATALIE ATKINSON: No more trackies.

    • 08:21

      JOHN MILLER: No more trackies What I'll do,is I'll take you a walk around whereas you would have beenwhen you were in way, way back.I mean, them kind of days.You know what I mean?

    • 08:30


    • 08:32

      JOHN MILLER: Yeah.Tell me about it.You used to fight like ten [INAUDIBLE].

    • 08:36

      NATALIE ATKINSON: It's mad to think the last time I saw John,I ended up in handcuffs.

    • 08:42

      JOHN MILLER: Do you remember that night?Your bottle started flying, remember that?

    • 08:46


    • 08:47

      JOHN MILLER: Your bottle started flying towards me,and you were off that way.But, obviously you weren't fast enough.

    • 08:51

      NATALIE ATKINSON: No shit.I was never fast enough.[INAUDIBLE] your picture yourself [INAUDIBLE]up on the side there?

    • 09:00

      NATALIE ATKINSON: No.I try not to.Knock on wood.[INAUDIBLE] Trackies.

    • 09:05

      JOHN MILLER: Trackies.Always trackies, wasn't it?Hey, behave.

    • 09:11

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Some things around here never change.

    • 09:13

      JOHN MILLER: [INAUDIBLE] Come on.Don't be silly.Well, that brought back some memories.

    • 09:21

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Well, it's weird.It's like, totally different being on the other side where--

    • 09:25

      JOHN MILLER: We're in the street.

    • 09:27

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I'm the actual person getting the abuse.When night's out in Lancaster, I would often end up here,in the police station.Coming back, brings some bad memories.

    • 09:47

      JOHN MILLER: Have a look in.

    • 09:48

      NATALIE ATKINSON: You go in first.

    • 09:50

      JOHN MILLER: No, you go in first.I'll walk in first.

    • 09:53

      NATALIE ATKINSON: You shut the door.

    • 09:55

      JOHN MILLER: This is where you probably woke up a few times.

    • 09:57

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Yeah.Not good, are they?

    • 10:01

      JOHN MILLER: No.

    • 10:01

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I actually don'tknow how I spent that much of my time in here.

    • 10:04

      JOHN MILLER: It's--

    • 10:05

      NATALIE ATKINSON: It's-- crazy thinking about it now.

    • 10:07

      JOHN MILLER: You had a vision.Do you know what I mean?You just wanted to be a rebellious type of personwhere-- rebuke authority, basically.

    • 10:15

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Oh yeah.Bet you regret that now though, don't you?

    • 10:18

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I do regret it, but I chose.I can't blame anyone else for the situation I've been in.

    • 10:24

      JOHN MILLER: You'd know you were going to get arrested,so you'd--

    • 10:25

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Oh I'd love it.The thing was, [INAUDIBLE] I usedto actually want to go to secure units,because it's sad, but fair.We used to want to go back since it'sthe only place where you feel settled, safe, nothave to worry, and like you said,I'd thrive in that environment, come out perfectly happy,or this.

    • 10:44

      JOHN MILLER: Yeah, for a couple of days, and then--

    • 10:46

      NATALIE ATKINSON: --and then straight--

    • 10:47

      JOHN MILLER: --straight back on it.But then, there was just something about you thattold me that you were better.And you would, one day, realize exactly where you were going.

    • 10:57

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Oh yeah.

    • 10:58

      JOHN MILLER: Because, as I keep saying, you had the brains,you had the willpower, you had the common sense,you had the intelligence, but for some reason--

    • 11:06

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I just didn't use it!

    • 11:08

      JOHN MILLER: I doubt that.You did use it.But look at you now!Really [INAUDIBLE], I'm really, really proud.

    • 11:13


    • 11:14

      JOHN MILLER: Yeah.

    • 11:17

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I can see now John did actuallycare what happened to me.I used to think the police were just out to lock me up.It has made me realize that therewas more concern about my young agemy performability The welfare side of things.And they was trying to like, steer me awayfrom the criminal justice system.

    • 11:38

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: Despite John's efforts, I was constantlyin and out of secure units.But, at least I felt safe there.That all changed when I turned 18.While my friends made the most of their new-found freedom,I graduated to the adult criminal justice system.A week after my eighteenth birthday,I was locked up in HMP Styal.

    • 12:01

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: I want to visit my old prison, but they won't let me in.It's crazy that the one time I want to come back,I'm not allowed.I could always see some of the houses, and I thought,prisons are held on.It's obviously the main gates whereyou go within the prison van.There you go free, but you can't see the wingbecause the wing is like, on the other side.

    • 12:26

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: My history of assaults meant I was high riskand put on the wing with the most serious adult offenders.It was a whole different world.There was violence, fighting, aggression.I learned more about drugs than I'd ever known,and got addicted to Subutex, a heroin substitute.

    • 12:46

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: Many inmates have mental health problems.And, one woman took her own life because she couldn't cope.I got depressed, started self-harming,and became so aggressive, they put me on strong medication.At the end of my sentence, I was released out the gate,with no help to find a house or a job.

    • 13:07

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: I think the whole point of prison is about punishment,but it is also about rehabilitation.I wouldn't have rehabilitated in Styal.Not a chance.I was just punished.I was contained.I was held.And, then let out.End of.I eventually changed my life through help on the outside.

    • 13:33

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: Wendy was my youth offending team workeronly until I turned 18.But, she carried on supporting me until I stopped offending.Wendy has been more than her youth offending team work.She's always gone above and beyond.She's a mighty part of my life.I classify Wendy like my family.

    • 13:52

      WENDY: Freezing.

    • 13:52


    • 13:56

      WENDY: A cup of tea?

    • 13:57

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Yes, please.Coffee.

    • 13:60

      NATALIE ATKINSON: You don't put milk in that, do you?When I was at my lowest point in HMP Styal,it was Wendy who I wrote to.And, that's December '07.What did you write there?

    • 14:14

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Yeah.Hi, Wendy.It's Nat here, how are you?I always used to say that, how are you.Good, I hope.Well, I'm fine now.My head was gone the other day.It still is but, I'm all settled now.I can't believe I'm locked up again.I can't read it.

    • 14:35

      WENDY: It's been a long time ago.Yeah.Seven years.You knew when you went to prison--

    • 14:43


    • 14:43

      WENDY: I think that made it worse for you.And, you had a big audience to clear up to.You never had that in secure units.So then that just fueled you completely,and made you want to act out.

    • 14:55

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I do feel good with my behaviorwhile I was there, and the way I was acting.

    • 15:00

      WENDY: And in the end I think, being in and out of prison,and just growing up in general, is what worked for you.

    • 15:07

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I think if I had got outof prison [INAUDIBLE] I'd have ended up back in prison.And, I think it would have just been that never-ending cycle,if I hadn't had that consistent support.

    • 15:17

      WENDY: Because we'd always be there for you.And watched you fail.And come back up again.And drop down.And, come back up again.At last I was so proud of you now I mean,you've done so well.Just like a little girl, this is my daughter now, she is.Come here.I upset you now.Forgive me.Now you start.But, you know that and I have always told you that.

    • 15:38

      WENDY [continued]: So- and it, darling, supposed to be happy, now.

    • 15:45

      NATALIE ATKINSON: They are happy tears.

    • 15:47

      WENDY: I was going to say, don't look very happy.

    • 15:49

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Depressed.I am happy.I could have been so-- I could have been in a different placenow.When I first came out of the prison gates at 18,all I had was 46 pound 50, the standard discharge grant,and the clothes I came in with.

    • 16:11

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: I had nowhere permanent to live and feltlike everyone could tell I had just come out of prison.Without friends taking me in, I don'tknow what I would have done.[INAUDIBLE] homeless, and I would havebeen, if it wasn't for them.I'd have had nobody.I'd have ended up in a hostel, if I was lucky,

    • 16:33

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: if I'd have got a space.And, I'd have ended up back in prisonwithin a couple of weeks.Nearly 40% of offenders leave prison needinghelp finding somewhere to live.Yet, a large proportion don't have anyoneto even meet them at the gates.

    • 16:53

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: My experiences made me want to help othersin the same situation.So, alongside my studies, I work in a hostel,which houses young adults with nowhere else to go.

    • 17:05

      MARTIN: Hello, Natalie.

    • 17:07

      NATALIE ATKINSON: You all right?

    • 17:08

      MARTIN: Yes, I'm fine.

    • 17:10

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Martin's 24 and has been inside prisonseven times.

    • 17:13


    • 17:17

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Yeah, of course you can.This time, he really wants to turn his life around, startingwith a permanent place to live.But, his criminal record means he's beenput to the back of the queue.

    • 17:28

      MARTIN: They asked me on the formthat I filled in did they have any criminal convictionsor anything like that and I thought well, I'll be honest.

    • 17:33

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Oh yeah, you've got to be honest.

    • 17:35

      MARTIN: I thought I'll put it down on the form.It's not going to go bad for me but,because of the recent criminal history, that theyhave to put me in Band D.

    • 17:42

      NATALIE ATKINSON: It's sad though, isn't it?Especially for like, young peoplewhether it's employment, education, housingit's always going to be there.You never get rid of it really, do you?What support did you have when you was released then?

    • 17:55

      MARTIN: Basically, turn you up at the gateand say there's four to six months, 50 to dischargednow from the government until youget your benefits sorted out.Goodbye and hurrah.

    • 18:03

      NATALIE ATKINSON: And, then you present yourself as homeless.

    • 18:05

      MARTIN: Yeah.To me, the jail shouldn't be able to release youonto a street.They should have to find you an accommodationbefore you are released.

    • 18:12

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Do you think that is a big problem as to whypeople re-offend then?

    • 18:15

      MARTIN: Yeah, definitely.

    • 18:16

      NATALIE ATKINSON: No housing.You got no prospects.

    • 18:18

      MARTIN: it's just easier some timesinstead of going through all these carrying on all the timeto just come in the fence, go back to jail,pay fifty pence a week for the television license,and that's it.I don't want to go back to jail.I don't want to commit another crime.But, I maybe, I maybe might.

    • 18:37

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I know how Martin feels.Many young adults see going back to prison as easierthan struggling to make ends meet on the outside.For me, getting a job with my criminal recordwas really tough.I used to hate telling interviewers and seeingthe look of horror on their face.

    • 18:58

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: But, the sad truth is, that without a job,and the money that goes with it, you'remore likely to re-offend.I've come to Preston to meet Elliot.He served 13 months in prison for burglary, committedto feed his drug habit.Six months on, he's now clean and needs work.

    • 19:20

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: But, in the current job climate, with a criminal record,and a history of drug addiction, he's finding it impossible.

    • 19:27

      ELLIOT: It's just pretty self-destroyingwhen you don't get any replies, responses, even acknowledgmentsfrom a lot of employers.It just makes you feel, just crap.

    • 19:42

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I'm going with Elliot on his daily visitto the JobCentre.

    • 19:46

      ELLIOT: We've got a leaflet distributor, direct salesadvisor, industrial cleaner, and a distributor team.

    • 19:55

      NATALIE ATKINSON: So, how many jobsdo you think you've actually applied for?

    • 19:58

      ELLIOT: At least 15 a week because that'swhat I have to do to make the JobCentre happy.And, in all that time, I've not had one response.

    • 20:06

      NATALIE ATKINSON: That's disheartening.

    • 20:08

      ELLIOT: Yeah, definitely.I'm not confident, anymore.I, I've got bad teeth from using drugs.I'm conscious about smiling when I see employers,so that'll probably give me a bad vibe.

    • 20:21

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I can understand totally [INAUDIBLE]that you do feel unconfident.I did.I don't like my teeth, but I feel so self-conscious,but we just got to feel a bit more confident now.And, I think you need to give yourself a bit more credit,and think, yeah I am doing it.I am trying.To increase his chances, I've suggestedElliot tries volunteering.

    • 20:43

      ELLIOT: Yeah.You know, when you've got no one to get up for,you've got no one to get up for.

    • 20:51

      NATALIE ATKINSON: First up, is the YMCA,where I got my first chance of work after prison.

    • 20:56

      ELLIOT: So yeah, I'm with probation.I've got a criminal record.

    • 20:59


    • 20:60

      ELLIOT: Does that affect any aspectsof volunteering [INAUDIBLE]

    • 21:03

      INTERVIEWER: It would massively depend on what your crime was.

    • 21:07

      ELLIOT: Burglary.

    • 21:09

      INTERVIEWER: Burglary, OK.Was it aggravated?

    • 21:11

      ELLIOT: No, no, no.No, yeah.

    • 21:13

      INTERVIEWER: We would not have a problem with that, OK?

    • 21:17

      ELLIOT: All right, great.

    • 21:19

      INTERVIEWER: Our [INAUDIBLE] is off today.I think it's positive we'll start Monday?

    • 21:25

      ELLIOT: Nice on Monday.

    • 21:26

      INTERVIEWER: Nice to meet you.

    • 21:27

      ELLIOT: Thank you.Cheers.

    • 21:27

      INTERVIEWER: No problem.

    • 21:32

      NATALIE ATKINSON: So, you're happy then?

    • 21:33

      ELLIOT: Yeah, that was really good.

    • 21:35

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Something to focus on, isn't it?

    • 21:37

      ELLIOT: That'd be great if I can start Monday,that would be absolutely perfect like,thank you for suggesting it.

    • 21:42

      NATALIE ATKINSON: He seems like, really excitedthat he's been given like, that chanceand that glimmer of hope.I just really hope that his references come back OKand that he is able to start.I really felt for Elliot.I know that spending a long time locked upcan destroy your confidence.In HMP Styal, I felt like I was just a number, not a person.

    • 22:06

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: It got so bad, I developed depressionand started to self-harm.Almost half of women and nearly a quarter of men in prisonsuffer from anxiety and depression.And, these problems can carry on after release.

    • 22:23

      NATALIE ATKINSON: 24-year-old Sephton'sbeen in and out of prison for years,and really struggles with anxiety on the outside.

    • 22:30

      SEPHTON: This is where I'm from.Not just here, obviously when you run away from home,you are from wherever you can stay.

    • 22:38


    • 22:39

      SEPHTON: Wherever you can live, really.But yeah, I grew up around here.My barbershop is just there.

    • 22:49

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Sephton's problem started as a child.He ran away from home at 12, became involved in gangs,and got into trouble with the police.

    • 22:56

      BARBER: I've known Sephton for probably 20 years now,and I've seen him grow I've seen him turn into a man.All he knew, was getting up to no good, selling drugs,doing this, doing that, and before you know it,he went to jail.

    • 23:09


    • 23:12

      BARBER: [INAUDIBLE] Good haircut.

    • 23:13

      NATALIE ATKINSON: You're going to do mine, now.Sephton really regrets his crimesand wants to change his life.But, his experience on the streets and in prisonhas left him feeling mentally scarred.

    • 23:27

      NATALIE ATKINSON: How do you actually think prison's failedyou?

    • 23:30

      SEPHTON: It's meant to be a punishmentbut also, rehabilitate you.Rehabilitating is not the thing.Even fighting and bullying, wow, you see it every day.I've had flats, I've been like, beat up by, say, 2-3 people.Sometimes, you wake up and there'sa guy getting kicked in his head, next to your door.

    • 23:55

      SEPHTON [continued]: It's like being in the army.Somebody in the army, when they're outin the trenches, when they're out in war,they are constantly looking around.Bombs are going off and shots are being fired.And, it's just really hectic for them.So then, when they come back to society,mentally, he has been programmed in such a way,

    • 24:17

      SEPHTON [continued]: that he can't help but react.And that is the same with people on the street and in prison.

    • 24:22

      NATALIE ATKINSON: How has prison like,affected your day-to-day life now?

    • 24:26

      SEPHTON: In jail, everything is basically done for you.So, I can't even use a washing machine.I can't cook me a meal.Even making a cup of tea, I can do it,but, through the frustration, through the mental breakdownof being trapped in a cell for so long,

    • 24:47

      SEPHTON [continued]: some things become an impossible task.

    • 24:55

      NATALIE ATKINSON: It's a year since Sephton left prison.[MUSIC PLAYING]Attending his local church four timesa week has helped him deal with his anxietyand keep him out of trouble.

    • 25:28

      NATALIE ATKINSON: So happy.

    • 25:30

      SEPHTON: What's that?

    • 25:31

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Happy environment.

    • 25:32

      SEPHTON: Happy environment, yeah.

    • 25:33

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Really nice, yeah.

    • 25:35

      SEPHTON: That's what mentally I need.The positiveness is everything yeah, is really powerful.

    • 25:43

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I can see how it'shelped you and the support that is given definitely.[INAUDIBLE] Definitely.

    • 25:47

      SEPHTON: Yeah.Definitely.

    • 25:51

      NATALIE ATKINSON: But, Sephton's church can only do so much.And, when he's not there, he's stillstruggling with everyday life on the outside.

    • 25:57

      SEPHTON: Yeah it was really good.She got to see how it's helping me change.But, if I don't have support, I know I'm going to re-offend.It's going to happen.There's no way that I can stay out here, in the statethat I'm in, and not re-offend, without support.

    • 26:16

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Sephton's at an important turningpoint in his life and I really wantto help him make a go of things.I know how hard it is to move on after prison.It's been over three years since I was last released.But, I'm faced with my past every timeI look in the mirror.

    • 26:36

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: I just hate the front tooth.It's like, black.It just reminds me of being an ex-offender, my teeth.I've had it punched out.I've been hit in the face with stuff.And, I was actually running from the policeand I had a WKD bottle in my hand.And, obviously it was wet, and I slipped.It obviously knocked it out.

    • 27:00

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: I'm going for my first consultationto see if I can get my teeth fixed.

    • 27:04

      DENTIST: Hello Natalie.

    • 27:05


    • 27:06

      DENTIST: Welcome.Are you all right?

    • 27:07

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Thank you.

    • 27:09

      DENTIST: So, what can I do for you?

    • 27:10

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I'd like a nice brighter whiter smile.

    • 27:13

      DENTIST: Yeah, I understand.

    • 27:14

      NATALIE ATKINSON: When I got into the offending ways Isort of, stopped looking after my teethand never went to a dentist.It was is a big step even going to one a couple of years agobecause I'm happy.

    • 27:23

      DENTIST: Yeah good stuff.

    • 27:24

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I just always [INAUDIBLE].Got my mouth shut.

    • 27:29

      DENTIST: Give me a smile.Yes go on.That's good.That was perfect.Thank you very much.That's a lovely smile there.That's great.First, we'd try and lighten that tooth.

    • 27:41


    • 27:42

      DENTIST: All right.And then, we would put a veneer over the tooth, all right?

    • 27:47

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I'm thinking it's a start now.

    • 27:49

      DENTIST: Yeah.Absolutely.

    • 27:51

      NATALIE ATKINSON: There won't be any go time.I feel really relaxed now and I actually cannot wait to startgetting something done to my teeth.It's not just your appearance thatcould be affected by prison.While I was at Styal I became addicted to Subutex, a heroin

    • 28:14

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: substitute.And I'm thankful I haven't got an addiction, now.According to one survey, around a third of those in prisonuse drugs.Over the years, Elliot struggled with drug addictionand burgled to feed his habit, which landed him in prison.I'm visiting his parents to find out

    • 28:34

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: if they think being locked up helped.

    • 28:36

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Hello.Hello Natalie, nice to meet you.

    • 28:39

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Nice to meet you.

    • 28:40

      FATHER: Pleased to meet you.

    • 28:40

      NATALIE ATKINSON: You too.

    • 28:42

      MOTHER: Awww, look at him there.He was about 11 here I think, 10 or 11, there.

    • 28:50

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Happy.Like you've got no worries in life.Happy.

    • 28:57

      MOTHER: He was very bubbly.Very happy.Wasn't he?

    • 29:01

      FATHER: He was happy.Yeah.Yeah.

    • 29:02

      MOTHER: You used to drive the teachers mad.

    • 29:04

      FATHER: Used to get away with it didn't you?

    • 29:06

      ELLIOT: Yeah.

    • 29:07

      FATHER: Drive them mad but you had a smile at the end of it.I couldn't tell you

    • 29:10

      ELLIOT: I got away with everything.

    • 29:12

      MOTHER: Yeah.

    • 29:12

      ELLIOT: I thought I'd never go to prison.

    • 29:14

      NATALIE ATKINSON: So, what do youthink about Elliot going to prisonand do you think that it was the right punishment?Do you think the prison works?

    • 29:22

      MOTHER: Did they really help you at all?I don't know.

    • 29:24

      ELLIOT: Yeah, I think it did help me.Just going to prison.The experience of prison helped me.

    • 29:29

      MOTHER: Well, process is something we never reallydiscussed.

    • 29:32

      ELLIOT: It's not really that I don't reallywant to go back to-- there's more incentive in stayingclean and not relapsing again.If I relapsed again, and got back on to the drugs again,I went down that route again, I would probably end up in prisonagain.And I don't want to go back to prison.

    • 29:46

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Elliot's positive about his prisonexperience.But, there's something he hasn't told me.

    • 29:52

      MOTHER: You were coming straight out of prison and used, love.

    • 29:55

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Did you use on your release from jail?

    • 29:58

      ELLIOT: The day of.The day I got out, yeah.

    • 29:59

      NATALIE ATKINSON: So obviously prisondidn't stop you using drugs, then?

    • 30:02

      ELLIOT: It was the day I got out.The guys I was released with, he bumped in at someone.And, he bumped into one of his mates,and he had [INAUDIBLE] and crack on him, and yeah.It was the first time I've really come across itand I just was like, yeah I want it.

    • 30:13

      MOTHER: You've come out of prison,and you're not that far further forward, Elliot,than what you were before you went in,in the respect of getting your life together

    • 30:22

      ELLIOT: No I wasn't any further forward.

    • 30:23

      MOTHER: No.

    • 30:24

      ELLIOT: Exactly the same place.

    • 30:24

      MOTHER: You're, exactly, you're not getting your life together.You know, we said oh by the time you're 30,you're going to turn that life aroundand you're going to get on the bandwagon and going to do this.You're 31.I just don't think you are further forward.

    • 30:40

      NATALIE ATKINSON: How do you think prison failed Elliot?

    • 30:43

      FATHER: I think ultimately it was the lack of rehabilitation.It was punishment, but not rehabilitation.

    • 30:54

      MOTHER: I just hope you don't go back.I would like to say I know you won't go back, but I can't.

    • 31:03

      ELLIOT: I've had enough of talking about me.I've had enough of talking about me now, I'm going to go.

    • 31:12

      MOTHER: I don't know, by the time he's 35,he'll have sorted himself out and got himselfanother little life and is happy.That's all you ever want Is for your kids to be happy.

    • 31:31

      NATALIE ATKINSON: It's clear Elliot's addictionand time in prison has been a massive strain on his parents.To be honest, I'm a bit more nervousnow about Elliot's future.He said, in a way, that prison worked for him because itbrought him off the drugs but, obviously itdidn't because he's gone and scoredwithin 24 hours of being released.

    • 31:55

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: Sephton's also finding life on the outside tough.His mental health meant he missedthe training and educational opportunitiesavailable inside prison.He's now unable to cope on the outside.So, I've come to see if I can help.He feels bad enough as it is and embarrassedabout the situation he's in.24-year-olds struggles, like with the basics-

    • 32:17

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: making food, making a drink, doing his washing.I think Sephton could be dreading today.When was the last time you cooked some food thenfor yourself?

    • 32:29

      SEPHTON: I've never really cooked anything for myself.

    • 32:31

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Come on.Let's go and have a look.

    • 32:33

      SEPHTON: Yeah.

    • 32:35

      NATALIE ATKINSON: All right, what are we going to make?

    • 32:38

      SEPHTON: I don't know.So, what's that?

    • 32:44

      NATALIE ATKINSON: That's like a stir fry.It's if you do like, chicken and noodles and some veg.Would that be all right do you think?Do you like sweet and sour or--

    • 32:55

      SEPHTON: Yeah, sweet and sour.

    • 32:56

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Sweet and sour.

    • 32:58

      SEPHTON: I've been locked away in a cell for so long.And then, my people skills is not very world.And paranoia are-- so, to do something like this,there will be some sort of panic inside me, yeah.Because, I can feel it now.

    • 33:12

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Yeah.Well, hopefully now--

    • 33:15

      SEPHTON: I can change that.

    • 33:16

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Yeah.It's never too late, is it?Could be a master chef in a couple of years, Sephton.You never know.Sephton seemed really nervous while we was in the shop.It's like, such a big thing for himand you could tell on his face he's actuallythinking of how we actually are going to do this.

    • 33:39

      NATALIE ATKINSON: How you feeling then?

    • 33:42

      SEPHTON: Anxiety.

    • 33:43

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Yeah.Do you want me to chop the veg or-- Yeah?Should we start, then?

    • 33:56

      SEPHTON: Something there can't break from it.I don't know if I can do this, you know.

    • 34:11

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I never expectedhim to react like this.Is it like a fear or--

    • 34:18

      SEPHTON: Yeah, it's fear.Not amounting to what I'm supposed to be,or something like that.I don't know.It's like a mental block.Something--

    • 34:28

      NATALIE ATKINSON: That sort of like, stops you in your track.

    • 34:32

      SEPHTON: Yeah.

    • 34:34

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I'm just going to carry on, takeit step by step, and see if he comes around.

    • 34:40

      SEPHTON: Don't they need to be chopped up more?

    • 34:43

      NATALIE ATKINSON: If you want them chopped up more,chop them up more.Smaller bits.Hide them a bit.

    • 34:49

      SEPHTON: Seems like I could get the hang of this.

    • 34:51


    • 34:56

      SEPHTON: I can see why some people like cooking.

    • 35:01

      NATALIE ATKINSON: You're actuallymaking that, aren't you?Bet you didn't think that this morning.

    • 35:06

      SEPHTON: No way.We went to the shop, and got the ingredients,I thought you was going to run a mile.Then for you to come over and like,start helping chop the peppers and stuff.It was just ace.I thought, go on.He's done it.It's like a piece of art.

    • 35:28

      SEPHTON: It's amazing.I feel even different in myself.The fact that I know now, there's one less thingthat I have to worry about.

    • 35:36

      NATALIE ATKINSON: You feel proud.

    • 35:38

      SEPHTON: Yes.Definitely.

    • 35:40

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Today, I've witnessed that with Sephtonthat the prison system hasn't done nothing for him.It hasn't guided him.It hasn't helped him.It's not effective.It's not rehabilitating him.And it's going to be like that never-ending cycle,the revolving door that keeps happening.He's going to come out, commit the crime, and go back.If he doesn't get the support.

    • 36:01

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: Sephton's not the only one needinghelp to live on the outside.Many young adult offenders are from difficult backgroundsand have complex problems.But, from my own experience, and whatI've witnessed with others, the prison systemisn't geared up to deal with us.I've tracked down one of my old governors

    • 36:21

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: at HMP Styal, Clive Chatterton.He has nearly 40 years' experienceworking in both male and female prisons.

    • 36:29


    • 36:30

      CLIVE CHATTERTON: Hello.Natalie?

    • 36:32


    • 36:32

      CLIVE CHATTERTON: Hello, I'm Clive.

    • 36:33

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I want to hear whathe has to say about putting vulnerable young adultsbehind bars.

    • 36:38

      CLIVE CHATTERTON: What was your overall lasting impressionof Styal [INAUDIBLE]

    • 36:42

      NATALIE ATKINSON: If I was to remember Styal,I just remember Styal as being fighting, anger, aggression.I was 18.It was like, rapists, murderers, someone took their own lifewithin the first couple of days of actuallygoing into the prison.And, I wasn't new to the youth justice system.

    • 37:02

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: I've been involved since being 13-14.And I just find it shocking.

    • 37:08

      CLIVE CHATTERTON: I cannot sit here and say I think prisonshould be a pleasant experience.But, the main aim of prison, and thishas been the same as whoever joined,is always to keep people in custody.Right behind that then, we'd expected quite rightlyto do something with individuals while they're

    • 37:29

      CLIVE CHATTERTON [continued]: in prison, to reduce the likelihood of themre-offending.

    • 37:33

      NATALIE ATKINSON: What if prison makes the person worse, then?Because, prison made me worse.

    • 37:38

      CLIVE CHATTERTON: OK.I think it all the time, meeting thousands and thousandsof prisoners, there is less than a handful that I think,could say that prison or something, has made them worse.One thing I always say to everyone,whether it's an offender or not, is that we allgot control of our own lives.We're all responsible for our own actions.

    • 37:59

      CLIVE CHATTERTON [continued]: And, I sometimes think people canoffer excuses, or want to blame others,or some part of the system.And, there's a bit in society [INAUDIBLE]actually prison has worked for [INAUDIBLE]because this fine young individual is in front of me.I'm not trying to put a positive spin on this--

    • 38:19

      NATALIE ATKINSON: No.I know but, I can understand why you'd come from that aspect.But, if I hadn't had an experience,I wouldn't be where I am today and I wouldn't be.I totally agree on that point.But, prison did not help me.And, I see it with other young adults.It breaks my heart that people aren't strong enoughto get through it.And, it's just broken.

    • 38:42

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: I might not agree with everything Clive said,but I do take his point that it's not all downto flaws in the system.When I think about it, it wasn't until I took responsibilityfor my own actions, and fully accepted I done wrong,that I started to change.I want to see what other young adult offenders think

    • 39:02

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: about their crimes.So, I've come to HMP Manchester to meet 26-year-old Billy.He's been released after serving two months.The latest of several short sentences.

    • 39:13

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Hello are you all right?I'm Natalie.Nice to meet you.

    • 39:17

      BILLY: So, you're the ex-con?

    • 39:19

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Ex-cons, is that what we call us?

    • 39:21


    • 39:22

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Are you pleased to be out?

    • 39:23

      BILLY: Yeah, obviously, I just spent two monthsin that shit hole.

    • 39:26

      NATALIE ATKINSON: So, what were you in there for?

    • 39:27


    • 39:35

      NATALIE ATKINSON: What were your charges for?

    • 39:37

      BILLY: Assault.

    • 39:38

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Assault.

    • 39:39

      BILLY: Robbing cars.Trucks.Good old days.I'm only joking.

    • 39:44

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Were they good?

    • 39:45

      BILLY: No.Never good when you get caught, is it?

    • 39:48

      NATALIE ATKINSON: So, how do you feel then about your offense?Do you feel remorseful for that or--

    • 39:53

      BILLY: [INAUDIBLE] Come on.

    • 39:54


    • 39:55

      BILLY: No.

    • 39:56


    • 39:57

      BILLY: [INAUDIBLE] brother's fine.[INAUDIBLE] someone else

    • 39:59

      NATALIE ATKINSON: By the police officer?

    • 40:00

      BILLY: Fuck him.He gets paid for it.Shouldn't have run me over. [INAUDIBLE] Itwas his own fault.

    • 40:09

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Billy's totally justified assaultinga police officer, justified assaulting his brother.He's not bothered about it.His whole attitude is not bothered.This is where we go in then, now.Probation.

    • 40:26


    • 40:28

      NATALIE ATKINSON: You're dying for a pint, aren't you?

    • 40:31

      BILLY: Yeah.Easy for you when you've got [INAUDIBLE]

    • 40:44

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Did you get your teeth [INAUDIBLE] jail?

    • 40:47

      BILLY: He's going to hundred years [INAUDIBLE]without teeth.

    • 40:51

      NATALIE ATKINSON: How did you lose your teeth?

    • 40:53

      BILLY: Drunken fight.

    • 40:54

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Yeah.So, how did that go?

    • 41:01

      BILLY: [INAUDIBLE] next Tuesday.

    • 41:03

      NATALIE ATKINSON: We'll get you gym membership.

    • 41:05

      BILLY: Yeah that should do. [INAUDIBLE]

    • 41:08

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Yeah.So let's keep you busy, then.

    • 41:10

      BILLY: Yeah.

    • 41:13

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Billy's short sentencedoesn't seem to have done him a lot of good,and I want to know if the opportunities for changehaven't been available, or whether he justhasn't taken them.What amount of your offenses are assaults then?

    • 41:27

      BILLY: 20 assaults or something. [INAUDIBLE]

    • 41:32

      NATALIE ATKINSON: So have you had any help?Any anger management or anything?

    • 41:36

      BILLY: No, no.

    • 41:36

      NATALIE ATKINSON: No.This probation offered you right?

    • 41:39

      BILLY: I've been offered it lots of times I just refused it.

    • 41:40

      NATALIE ATKINSON: You just haven't taken it.So, you have been offered that support.

    • 41:43

      BILLY: I just never used it.Can I go for a pint?

    • 41:49

      NATALIE ATKINSON: One side of it isthat the failures of the system are not working correctly,yeah.But, at the end of the day it's partly individual, as well.If that individual is not ready to make change,no matter how much support is put in place,they're not going to change until they want to.

    • 42:10

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: Although I got [INAUDIBLE] in painting and decoratingat HMP Styal, I felt the prioritywas to keep me locked up.But, not everyone's experience is the same as mine.And, training and employment opportunitiesvary from prison to prison.I've come to Drake Hall, a female prison near Stafford,

    • 42:30

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: that puts a big emphasis on preparing prisoners for lifeafter release.

    • 42:35

      INTERCOM 1: Will you just show some ID at the gatethen, when you come in?Thank you.

    • 42:38

      NATALIE ATKINSON: All right, thank you.And this time, I've been let in.Drake Hall houses over 300 women aged 18 and over.And, Lisa Garnett is in charge of their rehabilitation.

    • 42:52

      LISA GARNETT: I'm going to take youaround I'm going to show you the ethos of Drake Hall, which isvery much resettlement-focused.We don't particularly have cells.It is about women taking personal responsibilityfor themselves.

    • 43:06

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Thank you.

    • 43:07

      LISA GARNETT: This is a typical house unit.We've got a communal association room.A laundry room there and a kitchenette.

    • 43:15

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Do they actually want long keysfor the doors or--

    • 43:19

      LISA GARNETT: Yes.Here, their key is their personal key.

    • 43:22

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Is this Shawn?Hello, I'm Natalie.

    • 43:25

      SHAWN: Hi Natalie.

    • 43:25

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Nice to meet you.It's nice and homely isn't it?

    • 43:29

      SHAWN: Yeah, been trying to make it as homely as possible.

    • 43:32

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Shawn's serving 4 and 1/2years for a drug-related offense and has been at Drake Hallfor over a year.

    • 43:39

      SHAWN: The places before I come here,you are literally locked up all the timeunless you're working like, cleaning landings, thingslike that.Here, you have got responsibilityto get yourself up, and get yourself off to work,and you don't have somebody escorting you.You have to go on your own.

    • 43:54

      NATALIE ATKINSON: More freedom.

    • 43:55

      SHAWN: A lot more freedom.And, I've been working at dog kennels.I go there every week as well, looking after rescue dogsand things like that.

    • 44:04

      NATALIE ATKINSON: So you actually go out?

    • 44:05

      SHAWN: Yeah, I go out already.I've been doing it for maybe three months now so,yeah it's great.

    • 44:09

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Excellent.

    • 44:10

      SHAWN: Yeah, it's good.

    • 44:11

      NATALIE ATKINSON: So, what's the likelihood then,of you being released and re-offending?

    • 44:18

      SHAWN: No.Never say never, but no.Yeah.Touch wood.Touch wood.But, no.

    • 44:27

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Drake Hall has its own hairdressing and beautysalon where women can gain [INAUDIBLE] to helpthem get a job on the outside.Katie's 24 and is serving seven years for drug trafficking.

    • 44:39

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Hello, nice to meet you.I'm Natalie.

    • 44:42

      KATIE: I would have shaked your hand,but I'm kind of covered in hair.

    • 44:43

      LISA GARNETT: She's currently moving to a level two.

    • 44:46

      KATIE: Yeah.

    • 44:46

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Katie's just over a year from her releaseand ultimately wants to open her own hair dressers.

    • 44:53

      KATIE: It's like, working in the public [INAUDIBLE] clientafter client all day.It's stressful but, yeah.

    • 45:00

      NATALIE ATKINSON:It's not normal though, is it? [INAUDIBLE]

    • 45:03

      KATIE: Normally, here they do nailsand stuff so, it's a good thing.

    • 45:06

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I've got an obsession with nails.

    • 45:08

      KATIE: And me.

    • 45:10

      NATALIE ATKINSON: You'll like them a lot, then.Mine are quite plain today.Toned them down.Do you think because you've been given the option here, to like,do your courses to actually focuson something, how much of a part has that actually playedin your rehabilitation?

    • 45:25

      KATIE: A big part, definitely.I think, being able to focus on somethingand know that by the end of doing this,I'm going to get something out of it.

    • 45:34

      NATALIE ATKINSON: This could be that lifeline reallywhere you actually feel that you cango out and live a normal life.

    • 45:38

      KATIE: Yeah.I don't want to be just like, a typical person that's you know,in and out, in and out, in and out.Like, trapped in a system sort of thing.

    • 45:46

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Do you think youwould have had a different view if you had received a shortersentence?Under a year.

    • 45:51

      KATIE: I think--

    • 45:52


    • 45:53

      KATIE: Because I think the staff has maybegot enough time to work with you if you're onlydoing a short sentence.

    • 45:59

      NATALIE ATKINSON: It's good to seethat Katie is using her long sentence productivelyand is looking forward to life after prison.I think the biggest difference that I'm seeingis about support.And, the emphasis is really on the rehabilitation.They are getting the skills inside, ready for release.And that's one of the biggest differences,sort of being set up.

    • 46:19

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: They're not being set up to fail,they're being set up to actually achieve.I want to know, with the focus on training and employmentat Drake Hall, is helped other women on release.So generally then, what are the re-offending rateslike from Drake Hall?

    • 46:34

      LISA GARNETT: We have recently done a survey.And, it would appear, that generally wehave quite a high success rate with the over 12 months.The highest success rate is with anybodywho serves over four years.There is very low re-offending rates on that.Our biggest issue is with those seven under 12 months.That's where we have the least success rate,

    • 46:56

      LISA GARNETT [continued]: and again, that's potentially in relation to the length of timethe availability of the kind of coursesto be done in such a short period of time.

    • 47:05

      NATALIE ATKINSON: It's good to knowthat prison can rehabilitate those on longer sentences.But, I'm keen to find out what the government is doingto reduce the high rates of re-offendingfor those on short sentences.I've heard about some controversial new legislation

    • 47:25

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: being introduced by the Ministry of Justice.[AUDIO PLAYBACK]--[INAUDIBLE] too long for those particular offenders havehistorically received the least support.This bill will change that.[END PLAYBACK]The reforms mean nearly everyone on a short sentencewill have to fulfill a strict 12-month supervisionorder on release.And, if they don't comply, there will be consequences.

    • 47:48

      INTERCOM 2: Hi it's Natalie.I'm here to see Frances.Thank you.Government critics say it's a backward step.And, I've come to the Howard League for Penal Reformto find out why.Hi Frances.

    • 47:59


    • 47:60

      NATALIE ATKINSON: CEO Frances Crook campaignson criminal justice policy.Do you think that the current bills are actuallygoing to have effects on the re-offending rates.

    • 48:09

      FRANCES CROOK: Well, in the past,if you've got a few weeks in prison,you got a few weeks in prison and then you were released.What the government is going to do nowis insist that if you get a few weeks in prison,you will in addition to that, get a whole year's supervision.And, if you don't do as you're told, during that year,you can be breached, and you can be sent to prison again,

    • 48:32

      FRANCES CROOK [continued]: afterwards.And, again.And, again.So it's like several punishments for one offense.And it will certainly affect young people whooften live quite chaotic lives, sofa-surfing,and maybe they haven't got jobs, maybethey've got mental health problems.So, to do exactly as you're told,and to be exactly where you're meant to be,every time, is a tall order for young people.

    • 48:55

      FRANCES CROOK [continued]: So, many of them will end up back in prison,for several times.

    • 48:58

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Why do you thinkthey don't seem to clash young adults as a vulnerable group?

    • 49:04

      FRANCES CROOK: I don't know why there isn't a proper protectionfor young adults.We protect children up to the age of 18.And that's international law.That is a recognized agreement that anyone under 18 is a childand needs special protection.But increasingly, science is showingis that 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23-year-olds,

    • 49:27

      FRANCES CROOK [continued]: they haven't developed fully, and theydo need extra protection.And, I hope the government will recognize that.

    • 49:35

      NATALIE ATKINSON: It sounds like the government's planscould be a challenge for young adult offenders.I've managed to get a meeting with the Ministerfor Prisons and Rehabilitation, Jeremy Wright.I want to find out why he thinks the new reforms will work.I'm quite nervous, to be honest, about meeting The Minister.

    • 49:57

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: But, I want to know how he proposesthat the current legislation's going to reducethe high re-offending rates.

    • 50:03

      JEREMY WRIGHT: Jeremy Wright, nice to meet you.

    • 50:05

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Nice to meet you.

    • 50:05

      JEREMY WRIGHT: Come on, have a seat.

    • 50:07

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Thank you.So do you think the current legislation then,is going to be really effective for young adults?

    • 50:13

      JEREMY WRIGHT: What we want to dois make sure that people get some support in the closingstages of their prison sentence.And, we want that support to cover the problems that they'vegot whether that's a drug addiction,whether it's problems with education,whether it's problems with training,we want the support to continue through that process of leavingprison, and then for at least 12 months,thereafter, for all adults.

    • 50:34

      JEREMY WRIGHT [continued]: And we changed the law, just this year,in order to make sure that that can't happen.

    • 50:38

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Isn't it quite riskythough, extending the 12-month supervision?Because obviously, young adults doget a lot of short sentences.They've got nearly 60% re-offending rates,just of short sentences, within the first year.Isn't it a bit risky though, telling themthey've got to be supervised for the year?Won't that have a chance for increasing re-offending rates?

    • 50:57

      JEREMY WRIGHT: I think it's riskynot to, because as you say, for the group of offendersthat we're talking about, those who get sentences of 12 monthsor less, 60% of them re-offending within a year,and we do need, I'm afraid, to take in hand these people.We need to say to those people, look, here's the deal,we will make rehabilitation available to you.But, your job, is to change your life yourself.

    • 51:18

      JEREMY WRIGHT [continued]: You've got to do your bit.You've got to engage with this process.And if you don't, then there will be consequences.

    • 51:23

      NATALIE ATKINSON: And back to prison.

    • 51:24

      JEREMY WRIGHT: Absolutely.One of those consequences might be,that you go back to custody.

    • 51:28

      NATALIE ATKINSON: They got all these suggestionsof positive changes--

    • 51:32

      JEREMY WRIGHT: They're not just suggestions.It's what we intend to do.So, for eighteens and over, we thinkit's important that somebody takes controlof your supervision and your rehabilitationso that you are supported through that difficult periodof coming out of prison and you'resupported those outside for at least 12 months, thereafter.

    • 51:55

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I understand the government aretrying to support young adults, both inside prisonand on release.But, I think some of the people I've metmay struggle with this new regime.I've come to South London to see Sephton.In the past, he's been too anxious to attend referralsto the Bracton Centre, a clinic that specializes

    • 52:16

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: in offenders' mental health.So, I'm going with him to his first appointmentto see psychologist Jackie Craissati.So, what does it look like then?Does it remind you of anything?

    • 52:28

      SEPHTON: Yeah, it reminds me of prison.

    • 52:30

      NATALIE ATKINSON: But at least you know you're coming out.

    • 52:33

      SEPHTON: Yeah.

    • 52:35

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Even being in the waiting rooma couple of minutes is bringing back bad memories for Sephton.

    • 52:41

      SEPHTON: A waiting room normally in jailis the place where a lot of convictsare all together at once.And, one split second, we're fighting.And then the guy's punching the guy in the headlike, constantly.

    • 52:55

      JACKIE CRAISSATI: Sephton.Hi, I'm Jackie.Come on have a seat, Sephton.Natalie if you'd like to sit there.

    • 53:02

      SEPHTON: I think it's some sort of anxiety.I get this weird thing, where I kind of spazz.I kind of shut down.I get scared.

    • 53:11


    • 53:12

      SEPHTON: It's like, you've stepped into a battlefield.Constantly on defense.

    • 53:17

      JACKIE CRAISSATI: Looking around,who's going to be negative?Who's going to-- who's trouble?That kind of idea.

    • 53:24

      SEPHTON: Who's going to get me?Who wants to hurt me?Pressures me.

    • 53:27

      JACKIE CRAISSATI: Well it's like blowing the fuse, isn't it?And what you're describing to me is that you're so, vigilant,that's the word we use, you're so, kind of on red alertda-da-da-da-da-da all the time to actually you kind of, blowa fuse and you don't move.

    • 53:46

      SEPHTON: This makes so much sense.This is the first, wow-- thank you.My mind's moving too fast, doing so much, that eventually,it just kind of, the body can't take it kind of thing.

    • 54:01


    • 54:02

      SEPHTON: How much do you think prison hasto do with my mental health.

    • 54:08

      JACKIE CRAISSATI: it's relevant, definitely.When you come out, the loss of that structure,leads to a lot of problems in everyday life.If you saw some kind of psychological therapistfor a little while, helping you with thatand getting better at that--

    • 54:24

      SEPHTON: I think I'd be able to deal with my problemsso much better than I've been dealing with them.

    • 54:31

      NATALIE ATKINSON: So, how did that half an hour help you?

    • 54:34

      SEPHTON: I'm not even the same person that walked in.It's proper given the insight into my life.A light bulb just come to my head it was like,wow, I've got the answer, I know what it is now.That was amazing.

    • 54:58

      NATALIE ATKINSON: I've had some good news about Elliot.He got his volunteer job at the YMCA,and today's his first day.

    • 55:05


    • 55:06

      ELLIOT: How are you?

    • 55:07

      ELLIOT: I'm fine, thank you.[INAUDIBLE]

    • 55:11

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Very good.You'll be a pro on clothes, soon

    • 55:14

      ELLIOT: yeah, well, I had a few problems today.I thought one of the arms were missing, right?It turned out to be a halter neck.It's very confusing.

    • 55:22

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Complicated.So, is Elliot doing OK, then?

    • 55:25

      MANAGER: Yeah, absolutely brilliant.He's been great.Most people are quite nervous with that [INAUDIBLE] story.So--

    • 55:31

      NATALIE ATKINSON: He'll be running the place, soon.

    • 55:33

      ELLIOT: I don't know about that.

    • 55:35

      MANAGER: He'll get promoted, definitely.

    • 55:37

      NATALIE ATKINSON: The start of things to come, definitely.Well yeah, if it leads to something else, that's great.But, for the time being, I'm justhappy to be doing something.It just feels good to be doing something.

    • 55:49

      NATALIE ATKINSON: Sephton and Elliot are moving onand so am I. Today I'm getting oneof the last treatments for my teethand I can't wait for my new smile.No way.That's really good, isn't it?My teeth played a big part in the way I was feeling,definitely.

    • 56:09

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: Now, I can smile.I can be happy.I don't feel like an ex-offender.I'm just not one, now.It's not easy moving on with life after prison.

    • 56:32

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: But one thing I have realized, isthat you can't use your past as an excuse.The system isn't perfect and we're nevergoing to have a perfect system.By the end of the day, it's also about the individualstaking responsibility for their own actions.No one can blame the system fully,for the situation that they're in.

    • 56:52

      NATALIE ATKINSON [continued]: I think my message I would offer professionals,people involved in support, never give up on someone.And, never label someone as no hope or they'renot going to achieve.Because no matter how much they'reinvolved in the youth justice system, the criminal justicesystem, change is possible.

Banged up and Left to Fail

View Segments Segment :


Natalie Atkinson describes her past as an offender and how she has chosen to change her life after prison by getting a degree in criminology and helping ex-offenders. In this film, she interviews ex-offenders and looks at the paths they have taken, as well as speaking with prison system staff to look at both points of view on re-entry. Atkinson also analyzes a new law meant to offer more support to ex-offenders.

Banged up and Left to Fail

Natalie Atkinson describes her past as an offender and how she has chosen to change her life after prison by getting a degree in criminology and helping ex-offenders. In this film, she interviews ex-offenders and looks at the paths they have taken, as well as speaking with prison system staff to look at both points of view on re-entry. Atkinson also analyzes a new law meant to offer more support to ex-offenders.

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