Simon is a young man who received a Suspended Sentence Order (12 weeks imprisonment suspended for one year) with a 12 month supervision requirement and 180 hours of Community Payback for an offence of assault and criminal damage, committed during the course of the ending of a relationship.
He had previously received community sentences and failed to complete them. His record of completing Community Payback was particularly poor and he had received a short custodial sentence and a curfew as a result of repeated breaches. At the outset probation staff were sceptical about his ability to complete such a high number of hours.
Progress During his order
Initially Simon presented as very angry, expressing hostile and violent thoughts about revenge against a person he believed his ex-partner had been unfaithful with. As a consequence of the relationship ending he had found himself homeless and had to move back in with his mother, with whom relations were very strained. A few months beforehand the family had suffered a significant bereavement the sudden death of Simons four-year old brother - and his mother was using alcohol as a way of coping.
Within weeks the relationship broke down very dramatically. The police were asked to remove Simon from the garage where he had been sleeping. He found himself with nowhere to live and nothing more than a rucksack and a tent. There were a couple of weeks when he was completely inconsolable.
Due to the intensity of Simons unhappiness his probation officer decided to see him twice weekly for a period, pursuant to the Professional Judgement Project. This helped forge a strong link between the offender and his probation officer. Simon found the resilience to find temporary accommodation with a friends mum and, from that moment, things started looking up for him. Simon took advantage of every opportunity offered to him and quickly began to improve his life. He:
- Made and kept GP and hospital appointments to ensure that a leg injury (suffered in a road traffic accident and previously ignored) was properly treated. This included physiotherapy sessions
- Made a start on his Community Payback hours, quickly moving to twice weekly sessions to make more progress. There was one breach over the course of the order, for which seven extra hours were imposed, but all were completed well ahead of the end of the order
- Attended Education, Training and Employment appointments, obtaining a Constructions Skills Certification Card, which is a requirement for working in the building industry
- Engaged with Jobcentre plus and secured a college placement
- Got in touch, via his probation officer with the housing charity Catch 22 which resulted in him moving into his own flat seven months into his order
- Attended free counselling sessions provided by Brief to deal with his grief, anger and rejection.
Situation at the end of the order
Simon quickly established himself as a good tenant in his flat, coping well and continuing to engage with the housing charity for help with budgeting and other issues. Simon brought his grandfather to his last probation appointment because he wanted him to hear how well he had done.