Prisoners Mentor Project Information Pack


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Prisoners Mentor Project Information Pack

  1. 1. Young Muslim Offenders Mentoring Programme
  2. 2. Dear Colleague, Welcome to the Mosaic Network! Thank you for your interest in supporting the Mosaic Young Muslim Offenders Programme. This pack provides more details of the programme and the role to be played by mentors and Job Coaches in this important new initiative for the Mosaic Network. “There are very real issues facing those returning to mainstream society after time in prison. We need to help these individuals lead productive lives in the future, rather than falling prey to negative influences. This exciting project aims to provide opportunities for successful people to support members of their communities at a time when they are most need of the support of their community. I urge you to get involved.” Iqbal Wahhab - Founder, Roast Restaurant and Mosaic Board Member As a Mosaic member, you will become part of a wide network of individuals who will help to raise the aspirations of young Muslims living in deprived areas in the UK. By mentoring, you will make a real difference to your local community. You will also have the opportunity to meet other like-minded colleagues through a range of volunteering opportunities and networking events which will be posted on the Mosaic website at Please check the site regularly. If, having read the information contained in this pack, you wish to pursue your interest in the Mosaic Young Muslim Offenders Programme we would ask you to complete the application form that accompanies this pack. For further information, please contact Jonathan Freeman by email at With kind regards, The Mosaic team 2
  3. 3. Mosaic: The Muslim Mentoring Initiative. The Mosaic Mentoring Programme is an initiative led by HRH The Prince of Wales and is convened by Business in the Community, one of The Prince’s charities. Business in the Community support and challenge companies to integrate responsible business through their operations in order to have a positive impact on society and therefore be of 'public benefit'. Mosaic was launched in November 2007 to challenge the growing concern of the issues facing young Muslims living in deprived areas of Britain today. It is a national programme which focused initially in four areas of the UK - London, Bradford, Burnley and Leicester – but is now expanding to cover areas including the West Midlands. The aim of Mosaic is to develop as a network of multiple, Muslim-led initiatives which aims to work towards a more integrated and thriving society where all individuals regardless of background are supported in realizing their potential. One if its key functions is to encourage linkages between successful Muslim professionals and disadvantaged young Muslims, in order to raise aspirations and increase access to opportunities for education and employment. Why mentoring? Mentoring offers an excellent tool to increase self-esteem, aspiration and achievement to young people. It works by providing a positive role model as a mentor, who supports the mentee in their decision making for their future, offering insights and experience from their own life. The effect of role modelling is particularly powerful in Mosaic mentoring, where mentor and mentee share the common link of being Muslim. Mentoring benefits include: Increase in levels of self esteem and confidence Access to opportunities in education and employment Discover career options and experience the working world Raise academic achievement 3
  4. 4. Make a difference! What is a Mentor? A mentor is a role model, a guide, a motivator, and a listener. Today, mentors provide their expertise to less experienced individuals in areas in need of guidance and support such as in their careers, education, and to build their networks. Your role is to build a relationship of mutual trust with your mentee and act as an effective role model for them. This will include listening to and advising them whilst demonstrating an understanding of the problems and challenges they face. Coming from a similar background to the mentee may help the mentee to understand and to see what they could achieve. Why become a Mentor? It is incredibly fulfilling to be a part of a young person’s life when they are going through the important stage of deciding on their hopes and aspirations for the future, and how they might go about achieving them. You can be an integral part of helping them to expand their vision, gain self confidence and fulfilment of their ambitions. Being a mentor develops valuable skills which are highly transferrable into all spheres of life, particularly in communication, managing others, and problem solving. What is expected of me as a Mentor? In general, we are looking for those who are willing and able to offer their time to inspire young people and broaden their horizons of education and employment opportunities. For this programme, we ask that all volunteers commit to a minimum of 12 months and would expect mentors to be available at least once a month for face-to-face mentoring sessions. The Mentor Job description • A positive, non-judgemental and patient attitude towards young people • A desire to help in the educational and personal development of young people • Open and approachable with a willingness to share your experiences when appropriate • The ability to get along with young people and have a respectful attitude towards people of different educational, economic, cultural and racial backgrounds. • Understand the needs and issues faced by young, British Muslims • An ability to commit the required amount of time What you can expect from Mosaic • Training about being a Mentor • Preparation before meeting your mentee • Ongoing support if you have any questions/concerns • Co-ordination with the offender institution regarding any particular subjects which should be covered or any other relevant information required. • Opportunity to meet other mentors 4
  5. 5. Young Muslim Offenders Mentoring Programme Project Outline In a unique partnership, Muslim Youth Helpline (MYH), Mosaic and Business in the Community (BITC) are launching a new project to provide focused support and mentoring opportunities to Muslim prisoners around the vulnerable period of transition from prison back to society. As of April 2008, the number of Muslim prisoners in prisons in England and Wales on remand was 1,662, and the number of Muslim prisoners under immediate custodial sentence was 7,340, representing 2% and 9% respectively of the total prison population (82,319). Muslims therefore constitute nearly 10% of the male and female prison population, exceeding by three times their representation in the wider population. There is growing evidence of the particularly acute difficulties faced by Muslim prisoners returning to mainstream society and, as a consequence, their vulnerability to negative influences. Muslim prisoners suffer from particular problems when returning to society, given the social stigma that often attaches to them within their communities. In 2004, Muslim Youth Helpline launched its inaugural “Behind Bars” campaign during Ramadan to raise awareness of the pressures for Muslim prisoners. With the support of Muslim chaplains and Muslim communities, the campaign developed with gift packages and messages of support being distributed to 1053 Muslims in 19 prisons in 2005, gift boxes being sent to 2500 prisoners in 2006 and 3000 boxes being sent to Muslims in 51 institutions in 2007. Following the 2006 campaign, MYH undertook an evaluation of the campaign distributing a survey questionnaire to 400 prisoners, of which 328 were completed. Key statistics revealed by this survey include the following: • 30% of Muslim prisoners responding felt that the Muslim community could have played a better role in keeping them out of prison; • 35% of those responding were re-offenders; • of re-offenders, 63% did not find the support they needed upon leaving prison the first time; • of re-offenders, 82% felt quite strongly that faith-sensitive, community support upon exiting prison would have prevented them from re-offending; and, • there was nearly unanimous support in the same survey to the question asking whether prisoners would support a prison mentoring programme. Our Young Muslim Offenders Mentoring Programme will support 16-25 year-old offenders at the end of their custodialasentence, providing themfor me to help make a difference to peoplethrough “This is really exciting opportunity with a trained mentor to support them in the the difficult transition back into society and, will be challenging but incredibly rewarding.” operate way they need. I know that this particularly, the workplace. The project will in five locations: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and Leicester. The programme Shareefa Choudhury aims to provide support for some 50 prisoners in the first year, building to around 100 prisoners Head of Communications, Africa Directorate, Department for International Development 5
  6. 6. each year by the third year of the programme. Of these, we will seek to place at least half on Ready for Work schemes. The mentoring role Mentoring will start up to 6 months before a prisoner is due for release and would be expected to continue for a similar period after release. Mentors will start by visiting the client in prison in order to build trust, gain a better understanding of the client’s needs and help prepare them for release. Mentors will be encouraged to make contact with the relevant Prisoner Service Offender Manager and Muslim chaplains working in the institution. Following release, mentors will continue to support the client through the provision of emotional support, seeking workplace opportunities and general support around housing, education and related issues. Job Coaches Crucially, the mentoring arrangement will link into Business in the Community’s ‘Ready for Work’ programme. Ready for Work is an established, business-led, work placement programme aimed at helping socially excluded groups gain and sustain employment. It combines a two-day employability based training course, a structured two-week work placement and up to six months of individual support from a job coach. As well as those willing to act as mentors, therefore, we are also looking to recruit those who would also be able to act as Ready for Work Job Coaches. Job coaching is a unique opportunity to use existing skills, gained in the work place, to help an unemployed client gain and sustain employment. As well as developing communication, management and interpersonal skills, you will help your client build their confidence and motivation to move into employment. Coaches commit to supporting a client for a six month period. Following a full day of training, you will meet you client on a regular basis for the first nine weeks before planning the next steps forward. These may include coaching sessions over the phone or more practical support on CVs and interviews. Training We are working closely with Her Majesty’s Prison Service, Muslim chaplains and others in the field to ensure we deliver a programme that meets the needs of prisoners at the same time as ensuring effective support for those undertaking mentoring of this vulnerable group. All mentors will receive the following training and support: • faith-based support training, provided by Muslim Youth Helpline; • introductory mentoring training, provided by Mosaic; • prison awareness sessions organised by HM Prison Service; • support from prison chaplains and Prison Service Offender Managers; • regular contact with the Prisoners’ Project Coordinator. 6
  7. 7. We are also in the process of exploring the possibility of additional training sessions on volunteering in prisons and working with ex- offenders in the community. As noted above, those mentors willing to act as Job Coaches will also receive a full day’s training. Security Requirements Anyone working with HM Prison Service is exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and must be asked for details about criminal convictions, cautions and reprimands including those that are spent. This will not necessarily prevent you from working with the Prison Service. Each case is considered on its own merits. Individuals supported The mentoring programme will be available to Muslim prisoners aged between 16 and 25 in the institutions detailed below and whom will, on release, reside within reasonable travelling distance from the following cities: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and Leicester. All categories of prisoners will be eligible for support other than those convicted of terrorism-related offences. We understand, however, that mentors may have particular views concerning those convicted of certain offences and we will respect such views in seeking to match mentors with prisoners. Institutions covered The project is currently funded to support those prisoners in the following areas: • London • Birmingham • Manchester • Bradford • Leicester We are in the process of confirming the specific institutions to be included within the project. 7