Ian believes that being on probation has saved his life after he received support to help him find a home and quit abusing prescription drugs.
The 52-year-old suffers from a chronic pain condition and several years ago began overdosing on the powerful pain blockers he was being prescribed.
Ian, who has had long stints sofa surfing and living on the streets, regularly lost control on medicine. He has no memory of his current offence, which involved him being arrested for stealing from the back of a van.
Ian’s Community Order is supervised by Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company’s Julie Loughran at the Wirral office. She referred Ian to social justice charity P3 in 2016. P3 is part of the Interserve-led partnership that runs five CRCs, including M CRC. The organisation employs link workers who support people on probation who are also classed as having complex needs and are deemed to be highly likely to re-offend.
Ian said: “P3 and probation have been unbelievable. My life was so chaotic that none of the homeless hostels would have me, and I basically thought I’d end up dead because of the way I was abusing pain killers. But Heidi was there to save me.
“Through her tenacity I got into a hotel, then a stable bed and finally after several years plugging away she got me my own place. She recognised within seconds that it was pretty daft for my GP to give me a month’s prescription at a time.
“I was homeless for so long. It’s tough. But with the help I’ve got from P3 and probation it’s 100 per cent for sure kept me out of trouble because my drugs are under control.”
Ian had been extremely chaotic, had regularly overdosed and wound up in A&E. Hostels refused him admittance because of the high risk he presented.
P3 has helped Ian arrange and attend medical appointments in order to help him regulate his prescription. Ian suffered a spinal fracture and has multiple on-going health needs which require him to take up to 15 tablets on a daily basis.
Heidi said: “We worked intensively with Ian and eventually managed to secure accommodation, put a risk management plan in place and liaise with healthcare providers to address his physical and mental issues.
“Ian has been in the criminal justice system for more than 20 years, but now he is stable and is actively engaging with substance misuse services and compliant with all prescribed medication.
“He had a blip in November, but apart from that he has done tremendously well, had massively gained in confidence and is determined to continue on this path. I feel honoured to have been part of his journey.”
Ian added: “Julie is fantastic. My meetings with her give me a chance to reflect and get someone else’s view of where I’m up to. Working with P3 and probation has really worked for me.
“Heidi and her colleagues, I have a good relationship with them. They help me understand some of the pitfalls of some of my behaviours.
“For people like me the ‘big stick’ approach simply doesn’t work. The more of the kind of work done by P3 and probation the better because it looks to actually try and address my underlying issues in a professional manner.”