Michael embraces new life

Michael was born in prison and has spent years in custody but is about to successfully complete his Probation Order and has thanked his probation case manager for helping him become a responsible father.

The 49-year-old, from Liverpool, was sentenced to a 24-months Suspended Sentence Order with 150 hours unpaid work for possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply.

Michael was supervised by case manager Alan Lewis, from the Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company.

At the time of the offence – in June 2017 – Michael had become a recluse having split from his ex-partner. He had used cocaine and other drugs for much of his life, but his usage had dramatically increased at the time of his arrest.

He said: “I was in a terrible state. When the police came through my front door, I’d been awake for two-days and was happy to see them because I was in despair.

“I had nothing. I had pushed all my family away and I went through long periods when I literally saw no-one. I was often thinking about suicide.”

Alan arranged for Michael to complete his Unpaid Work hours at a charity shop.

Michael, who has undergone several operations on his knees, said: “I’ve always previously viewed authority negatively. That’s how I’ve been and it’s how my family raised me, but I really appreciated that Alan had organised for me to do my Unpaid Work at a charity shop because I was very worried about working outside because of my disability.

“Every time I saw Alan, he helped me, advised me supported me and I felt better. I knew I could trust him, and I told him all about what was going on in my head.”

Michael had been sleeping in a car, but Alan – together with Elaine Thomas from Riverside Housing Association – helped him gain settled and safe accommodation. He also organised for Michael to see a counsellor.

Michael said: “Alan saved my life. He fought for me when I’d given up. He spoke to me on a level, like he knew what I was going through. He gave me my confidence back.”

Michael and his new partner now have a five-week-old baby son and he has three other children.

Michael said: “I was born in custody. I’ve had 15 sentences and a life of police, probation and prison. I’d classed them as the enemy. For Alan to change my perception is quite something.

“I’ve now stopped taking drugs. I love my new life. Thanks to Alan I feel alive and that I can be a proper dad. I’ve had set backs, but each time I know I’ve been able to speak with Alan, and that has helped tremendously.”

Alan said: “The difference in Michael has been incredible. He was motivated to change and wanted to become drug free, our role was then to support him. I’m enormously proud of him and I wish him every success in the future.”