The MOJO Aftercare and Reintegration Team are pleased to report the successful, long-awaited launch of our MOJO Community Project.
The MOJO Community is an extension of our client-led reintegration programme which aims to bring clients together to seek to mitigate the consequences of wrongful imprisonment and to offer an alternative to commonly encountered feelings of desperation and isolation.
In doing so, our clients can regain the tools required to be functioning members of society and re-enter their own communities.
The project launched, in the first instance, with our first, monthly psycho-educational group session in which six of our clients participated.
By providing the space for our clients to discuss with others who have gone through the same experience, those who are able to can provide the necessary mentorship those that need it. Our clients report already taking comfort in the opportunity to discuss openly with others who can truly understand what they are going through.
Developing from these groups we plan to encourage clients to share their interests, socialise, exercise and take up new hobbies by facilitating away days, team-building exercises and opportunities to learn new skills.
This project too, will be led by the clients, all of whom are keen to chair their own sessions as we progress.
MOJO would like to thank the clients who have participated and contributed to what was an encouragingly productive discussion. We would also like to extend special thanks to Aftercare volunteers Helen Grant, Joanna Register, Erin Fyfe-Williams and Demi Lindsay for their hard work and diligent research over the last few months that has contributed to a successful launch.
Below, we post our MOJO Community Mission Statement.
The “MOJO Community” Project Mission Statement
The primary focus of our Aftercare and Reintegration Service is to build resilience and self-reliance in our service users in order to provide them with the tools to reintegrate into their communities as functional members of society. In doing so, our aim is to combat isolation and to prevent our service users from shutting themselves away from the world that they feel unequipped to deal with. This we have sought to achieve through individual client-led support plans, designed to identify the skills clients feel they need to learn in order to achieve their goals.
In March 2020, the country entered the first national lockdown and the way our services were administered had to be adapted to a situation outwith anyone’s control. Our volunteer staff were stood down and our service providers had to work from home. Client facing contact was suspended, and contact with our organisation was limited to telephone, messaging and videocalls.
For many of our clients this meant that the only form of face-to-face social support they receive was taken away from them.
As restrictions began to ease, we have found that even for our more well-adjusted service users, that the consequences of mandated self-isolation have been akin to those after-effects already suffered from their release from prison. It has been impossible for these clients to pick up where they left off before the outbreak of the pandemic.
We have returned to working at a full-capacity, with all of our clients in the community in a more challenging place than they were. It has not been enough for a number of our service users to take comfort in the form of psychosocial support and reintegration that we have provided previously.
As our focus over the years has shifted towards a client-led reintegration program, when asked what the individual client wants from our service, a common response is that the service-users want to help others facing a situation in which they have themselves, been. Though all of our clients suffer parallel, ongoing mental health problems each have different sets of skills and coping mechanisms. Some have passion in activities that they want to share with others. They tell us they want to bring what they have got to the table to lift up others who have been through the same experience.
Upon release from prison, when suffering the consequences of wrongful imprisonment, it is common that they can feel alone and isolated from the rest of the world. In allowing our clients the space and freedom to openly share their experiences, thoughts and feelings with others who have been through the same, we can mitigate feelings of isolation and introduce hope to those who are struggling the most.
Many of our service users already have experience of peer-mentoring others during their time in prison already and are keen to help one another.
By giving our service users a forum to socialise with one-another, we can enable them to relearn the social skills they have lost, by way of their experience and time in prison, and they can use these newfound tools and confidence to become functional members of their own communities once again.
To give a voice to the voiceless. To support and assist the factually innocent and insofar as we can render successful their reintegration back into their own lives, families and society.
• Encouraging social interaction.
• Empowering one another.
• Enabling recovery and moving forward.
The MOJO Community gives our clients the space to openly and freely discuss their experiences and share with only those who can truly understand them.
By way of their experience, our clients, find it very difficult to trust. It is our role to build trust in this organisation and facilitating trust in their fellow service users as a means to show our clients that they can trust others in their lives.
The MOJO Community provides the opportunity for our clients to demonstrate to themselves, how they can support and assist one another. By building resilience by working together, our clients can build their confidence to become self-reliant members of society.
The MOJO Community provides our clients the opportunity to not only be responsible for their own reintegration, but to have a role in supporting and assisting others, in theirs.
The MOJO Community gives our clients true ownership of the Aftercare Service as a whole and not just their own individual reintegration.
MOJO operates as a partnership between the service user and the organisation. Together, our community of service users can offer each other friendship, guidance, and mentorship.
Just as our organisation does not tell our clients anything other than the truth, the clients will not hide the realities of their experience with one another.
Constant Pursuit of Best Practice
We are constantly striving to expand and improve the service we offer to our clients.