• gillknowles

Ozzy's Story

"White crusty bread, Anchor butter and strawberry jam."



When lads don't have much, the smallest things can really mean a lot and so Ozzy was really grateful when his In2Out mentor met him at the gate on his release from custody, with the food he was looking forward to eating the most.


Ozzy had had too much time on his hands, had got involved with the wrong crowd and so ended up in custody for the first time. "I felt quite shocked to have arrived in Wetherby because I never thought I would have ended up in prison in my life." Things had to be different when he got out. So, just days after he was remanded to HMYOI Wetherby, he was referred by a prison chaplain to In2Out's mentoring programme.


Initially Ozzy met with his mentor face-to-face but as restrictions were brought in due to COVID this had to change to email communication. Having given him his contact phone number in an email, his In2Out mentor was really encouraged to receive a call from Ozzy, who had put the number on his prison list which meant he could call regularly.


Ozzy didn't want any trouble with the other lads inside and his anxiety about this made studying in the classroom difficult. He was also anxious because he didn't know if he was going to be convicted and what his sentence would be. The long phone conversations with his mentor kept the relationship going through lockdown and meant that Ozzy was still supported particularly as he waited to hear about sentencing. He shared his worries and concerns, and his mentor was able to provide a letter of support to the court.


Looking back on his time now, Ozzy says, "Wetherby has definitely changed me for the better. I have gained qualifications in there and have matured a lot. I also now have a different outlook on things and try to be positive all the time."


During lockdown, In2Out distributed gift bags to each of the boys in HMYOI Wetherby to give them things to do and encourage them - this included a magazine of a choice of three. Ozzy was really pleased with his Top Gear magazine, as he is especially interested in mechanical things. He also started watching a TV series called Prison Break which his mentor started watching too, so they could talk about it together.


Speaking on the phone with his mentor helped Ozzy start thinking about the future and his hopes and dreams for the next five years. "I think my future will be very positive. I am aiming to get a job or an apprenticeship, and try to get my own place." Thinking about what his future could be rather than focusing on the unknown present, helped him manage his anxiety.


Now 'on the out', Ozzy commented that 'in prison, nothing is expected of you' but once you are out 'so much is expected of you'. He continues to meet regularly with his mentor and their relationship is developing as Ozzy looks towards a better future. Lockdown has made it difficult to find voluntary work or employment. "I wanted to start an apprenticeship in one of the trades but I have been unable to do that at the moment. I also wanted to build stronger relationships with my family - and I am achieving that."


His mentor is also keeping him busy and recently gave Ozzy a hot air engine to work on, which Ozzy researched online and they were able to discuss together how it works. Hopefully as the latest restrictions ease, Ozzy can start to put his interest in mechanical things and his obvious skills to good use.


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