Reformed East Sussex receives £15,000 boost to continue supporting ex-offenders
A cheque for £15,000 has been presented to Reformed East Sussex, an organisation which aims to help reduce re-offending by those convicted of crime.
The cash comes from the Police Property Act Fund – which is made up of monies received by the police from the sale of unclaimed lost property and property confiscated and sold by order of the courts.
They money will help the organisation to provide its unique service in the Eastbourne, Hastings, Rother, Lewes and Wealden areas over the next six months.
Charlie Connaughton, Integrated Offender Management co-ordinator, together with PC Jason Taylor of the Eastbourne IOM team, handed over the cheque to Charmaine Sewell, chief executive of Reformed East Sussex.
Mr Connaughton said: “The Reformed East Sussex team provides first-class support to service users in improving their prospects and job opportunities as they settle back into the community.
“A success for Reformed East Sussex is a success for all our communities in the longer term.”
A spokesman for Sussex Police said recent national media coverage shows increasing pressures to look at alternative sentencing, diverting offenders away from prison and particularly those given short prison sentences.
These often prove ineffective, providing little opportunity to rehabilitate offenders and lead to unacceptably high rates of re-offending, the spokesman said.
Charmaine Sewell said: “We know that two-thirds of prisoners released after short sentences re-offend within a year.
“Short sentences are long enough to damage you but not long enough to heal you.
“This is why it is so important to raise awareness and funds, both in the short and longer term.
“The public would be safer if we had good community sentences.
“But community sentences require good community services working together to ensure they’re effective.
“Reformed East Sussex already plays a key role in the community and we believe we could be essential in making community sentences work.
“The Integrated Offender Management is an integral part of Reformed East Sussex, providing a forum for key stakeholders to come together to review and discuss issues relating to our most complex clients.
“Every one of them are courageous people who have decided to make a change in their lives and become an active member of society.
“We’re honoured to be able to help them, and flattered to receive some fantastic testimonies.”
One ex-offender said: “I felt like my criminal record would stop me getting employment.
“I thought I would be discriminated against, but Reformed East Sussex were understanding people who knew what I was going through.
“Knowing that those supporting me had also gone through similar experiences gave me hope that possibilities were out there for me.
“After being in prison for eight years I found it difficult to find a job.
“With experience in kitchen and window fitting I knew my skills could be helpful to someone but I felt restricted.
“Reformed East Sussex were very helpful and friendly, helping me update my CV and gain training to enable me to find a job.”