Jay* joined Tap Social on day release whilst still serving his sentence. Jay stayed with Tap for over three years before moving to London to set up his own business. He remains a valued ambassador for Tap Social, speaking regularly at events and sitting on our Advisory Board.
MY REFLECTIONS ON PRISON
The first thing that happens is that you lose your job if you had any, lose you home and often your family; then you lose your self respect and confidence. Then comes a period of acceptance: trying to absorb the shame and deal with the guilt and pain of imprisonment.
Near the end of your sentence, there is a sense of anxiety mixed with the joy. Part of this is the fear of being rejected by potential employers because of your criminal record; fear of failing and being recalled back to prison. This is where social enterprises like Tap Social Movement come into picture.
MY TIME AT TAP
When I started at Tap in June 2018, like my fellow trainees from HMP Springhill I was free to choose from a variety of roles within organisation ranging from barista work or event planning to brewing.
At Tap we re-learned to engage with the public and develop desperately-needed work and social skills. We also gave one another moral and practical support, discussing issues around reintegration together, encouraging and uplifting each other through sharing our stories.
Within a short time those fears fell away, bit by bit. Here at Tap my conviction was not a barrier. Not only was I a valued member of staff but I was treated with respect and made to feel …dare I say ‘normal’ again. I started to believe that I, too, could build an honest life.
MY NEXT STEPS
I accepted Tap’s offer to continue work with them after my release. I was lucky to have a family and a home to go back to and now I also have a job. Tap Social have also supported me to start my own online business, which I have just incorporated and will run alongside my role at Tap with their help.
I can think of so many guys I know who still have nothing to go back to – no helping hand to get back to ‘normal’. Justice has been served; it is time for society to show support and compassion and Tap has the knowhow to offer it; I am proud to be a member of the team.
*name has been changed for privacy.