The life of a PARS field officer
You might know what PARS do for ex-prisoners, but do you really know what that means for the staff who day in, day out do their best to support prisoners as they re-enter society? We wanted to give you some insights into what supporting prisoners actually means, so who better to explain that than one of the incredible PARS field workers, Aaron?
You might know what PARS do for ex-prisoners, but do you really
know what that means for the staff who day in, day out do their
best to support prisoners as they re-enter society? We wanted to
give you some insights into what supporting prisoners actually
means, so who better to explain that than one of the incredible
PARS field workers, Aaron?
"I joined PARS in 2008 as a field officer. Originally on a short
term contract, I joined the organisation for a number of reasons,
and over time my dedication hasn't changed, although my motivations
have. After having worked there for so many years, my motivation is
now very much about encouraging those who come to PARS to make the
most of their options, and see that there are in fact options. This
job is very much about encouragement, and helping people identify
skill sets they may not even know they have."
Wearing different hats
"My job puts me in many roles: listening ear, cheerleader, taxi
driver - you name it! Mostly my job is to challenge them to take up
opportunities, be the best they can be, and help them understand
what the reality is for those leaving prison.
A big part of my job is conducting pre-release interviews. These
help us figure out what we can assist prisoners with once they
leave the confines of prison. There are often constraints on what
prisoners are able to do, both before and after leaving prison, and
we cater our services to what their needs are."
It's not all on the
"I spend roughly 60 percent of my time on the road, while 40 is
generally spent doing paperwork back in the office. Out on the
road, my role includes everything from talking to landlords and
scouting streets for 'to lease' signs to delivering letters to the
prisons and picking up prisoners on release.
Once I've spent a day on the road, I'll generally spent most of
the next one back at my desk in the office. It's hugely important
that we document everything we do so I need to account for my time
and write reports, as well as process applications to help clients
register for the benefit, obtain an ID, and more."
Wishing I could do
"The biggest challenge, and the hardest part of the job for me
is when you just can't find someone a home - when you've talked to
a hundred landlords and you still can't get anything, yet you've
got someone sitting in the car with you having just left prison. At
that point there's not much you can do for them except keep
searching the next day."
Making it all worth it
"The most rewarding part, the part that makes it all worth it,
is picking prisoners up on release day. I always have the
realisation that someone has missed out on this huge chunk of their
life, and it's really sobering. One guy had been in prison for 20
years, and was amazed by how big the trees were outside - they had
been bushes when he went in. It makes you appreciate afresh every
week what freedom means - you can't put a price on that. It drives
me to help ex-prisoners realise that whatever you might gain from
crime, it's not worth it because of that. The ones that are a
success, those are the ones who have that realisation, and that's
what makes it worth it."