Darren – The SPARC process

Darren was sentenced for theft offences after experiencing a short period of street homelessness. He had become homeless due to a breakdown in his previous relationship. This also meant he had not been able to access his money and had committed thefts to get food. However, while on the streets, he had also relapsed into using heroin and an old wound on his leg had become an issue again. Darren had been in prison before but was disappointed to be returning after what had been a long period out of prison during which he had successfully moved to his own tenancy with his partner and been successfully abstaining from the use of illegal substances.
Darren’s SPARC Practitioner listened to his concerns during his keep safe interview and reassured him that she would help him, not just with his initial concerns about withdrawing from heroin and the infection in his leg, but to also try to resolve his accommodation issues and move forward again so that he would have the best chance of not returning to prison again. Darren was also concerned about his parents not knowing where he was. Immediately after the interview, Darren’s SPARC Practitioner referred him to the prison substance misuse and health teams. She also faxed his healthcare consent form to his GP surgery so that they were aware he had provided authority for them to discuss his medication with the prison. She then notified the prison pharmacy team of this and told them who the GP was and what medication he said he was prescribed. After checking there were no restrictions on Darren having contact with his parents, she phoned his Mum. His Mum expressed relief at knowing where Darren was and that he was safe. She had just spent 2 days trying to locate Darren’s brother who had gone to a different prison via a different court and was concerned she was going to have to do the same for Darren.
The following day, Darren’s SPARC practitioner re-visited him and checked he had received his telephone call in reception, and had everything he needed at that stage. She also discussed Darren’s housing needs. The house Darren had moved out of and onto the streets was with his ex-partner and was private tenancy which Darren said he definitely did not want to go back to as he did not feel safe there. However, the letting agent would not allow Darren to surrender the tenancy as it was a joint tenancy and his ex-partner would not surrender. Darren’s SPARC Practitioner arranged legal representation for Darren to try to resolve the situation. The legal representatives visited Darren at the prison and his SPARC Practitioner went along to support Darren during the visit.
Darren’s SPARC Practitioner discussed that her support would end when Darren left prison but that there was other support available on release should he want it. Darren was still very motivated and wanted all the support he could get. The SPARC Practitioner told Darren about mentoring available whereby the mentor would come and meet him while he was still in prison and then support him through the gate and after release. Daniel was keen and soon met his mentor. She continued visiting him in prison and liaised with SPARC so they both knew what support was being offered to Daniel.
Darren also disclosed to his SPARC Practitioner that he had previously made a medical negligence claim for an issue that happened outside of prison. However he had lost contact with his solicitor and so the claim had not progressed. Darren discussed that he felt it was a good time to make contact with the solicitor again and try to progress the claim. The SPARC Practitioner contacted the solicitor and provided Darren’s details so that they could re-establish contact and progress the claim.
Darren’s SPARC Practitioner worked with him over the coming weeks to apply for new accommodation and liaised with his Offender Manager in the community. However, due to Darren’s housing history, all local support providers declined him. Daniel wrote a detailed appeal letter to one of the providers asking them to reconsider. He discussed what had gone wrong for him and what he was doing to put things right, such as the courses he was doing in prison. Darren’s SPARC Practitioner sent this on his behalf with a covering letter. The letter Darren did was so good that the appeal was accepted.
On his day of release, Darren was met in the departure lounge at HMP Lincoln by his release mentor. They supported him to ring his GP to get his new appointment and then took him to his new accommodation. Darren has had his ups and downs since he got released but his release mentor who SPARC referred him to is still working with him and he has not returned to custody.