Adam* writes: “At 16 I had no qualifications. At 18 I had become a dad and was involved in an armed robbery and sentenced to 5 years in a young offenders’ institute.
I saw my son now and again but to be honest I was not that bothered about him. My Mum and Dad tried talking to me but I was too arrogant to listen.
When I came into prison I still had the swagger, as if I did not have a care in the world. I did not have time for anybody. Then I got offered a place on the Prison Fellowship’s Sycamore Tree course. I thought I might as well do as many courses as I could while I was in prison, rather than just waste away.
Meeting Catherine* who had been a victim herself and hearing her story opened a door in my heart that I never knew I had. Going back to my cell after the course it hit me, I did not know how to show emotion or love or to forgive or respect other people. Catherine’s story was a turning point for me.
As part of the course we had to write about our victim and so I wrote a poem. On the last week of the course when I read my poem I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. It meant so much to me. For the first time I was beginning to like being me.
The course tutors from Prison Fellowship gave up their time to visit me. They seemed to glow with excitement. Seeing them glow made me want to ask God into my life.
At 16 all I wanted was loads of money and a fast car. Now I just want to have a loving family, a real job and to help my community. My son looks up to me…if I can stop just one person from going down the road I took it’s him.”
* Names have been changed to protect those involved.