Tarquin says: “it can be pretty scary getting out and then just ‘bang’ into normality.”

“I’ve been coming out to LandWorks for a couple of months. I’ve now been released from prison on a Home Detention Curfew (HDC/Tag), but I’m still coming out here to volunteer. I’ve found it really useful to re-humanise myself and gain some skills that I can use when I get out. It’s a nice environment to meet people and it’s just nice to be here. It’s helping in the transition, actually, it’s helped quite a lot because it’s a bit of a shock when you get out. Just little things, like, you can have a bath, it’s just silly little things, using a metal knife and fork and stuff like that. I nearly got run over three times because you forget there’s cars on the road…

Weirdly, a lot of the stuff you do here, especially the woodwork side of things, that’s what my business was, making chopping-boards, oak-framed mirrors and turning green bowls and I used to sell that at festivals. So, as soon as I heard about what was going on here, in prison, it was right up my street. I just wanted to get out as soon as I could. I can’t see why anybody wouldn’t, really. Lots of people in prison, they just want to stay on the wing to be ‘king of the castle’, maybe it’s got something to do with drugs or whatever. It seemed like a no-brainer, to me, coming here and you’re all really nice people as well..

It definitely helps because it can be pretty scary getting out and then just ‘bang’ into normality. That, I suppose, is the time when people are most likely to re-offend, in those first few weeks because straight back on the piss or something, or straight back into old friends who might be doing drugs, or whatever and straight back out on the rob and then straight back inside. That’s basically the cycle, isn’t it?

I’m just settling back into everything now, getting appointments sorted out. The main thing is getting my flat, seeing my kids, my boy’s coming down next weekend, so I’ll spend a bit of time with him. My daughter, I’ll see her before Christmas as well, because she’s been ill whilst I’ve been in nick, which I didn’t know about, but I think that’s all sorted…

When I was sentenced everybody was shocked. I was really worried about what my kids would think and whether they’d believe what the papers had put because people do tend to. A mate of mine, a really good friend, brought them down to visit. I hadn’t seen him for years and he brought them in and he spent 10 minutes there, and then cleared off and sat out in the car, which was brilliant of him, and let me have the rest of the time. Within 10 minutes it was just like the day before, laughing and joking. They wanted to know what everyone was in for…

It’s unfortunate, but it’s helped me. A lot of good things have come out of it really. I was stuck in a rut in that town. I was drinking too much, especially the 14 months waiting to go to court, the worry about that. There was a lot of stress. The way I work, in the past, in stressful situations, I cope with them really well and then all of a sudden when you don’t realise it … bang … it sort of hits you. I’m almost expecting that’s going to happen at some point. I want to keep busy, just getting involved in all that sort of stuff. I don’t care what people think about it. I know what happened. It’s done and it’s probably been a good thing. It’s probably put 10 years on my life to be honest with you. All my friends that actually matter, because you find out who your mates are, have all been saying get out of  that town for years. I’ve used the excuse of staying there because of the kids, but they’re old enough now. She’s going to university next year and he’s working, so, there’s no excuse is there?”

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