Devon, a ex-offender who turned his life around is looking forward to a better future this Christmas.  

Devon was at risk of becoming homeless when he came out of prison. Living in his aunt’s garage, he was running out of options until the we offered him support. 

Originally from Sydenham, Devon says: “I’ve lived quite a life which includes a few stints in prison, but I’ve really tried to turn my life around. I used to deal drugs and my issues with anger caused problems too, especially when I drank.” 

During his last prison term, Devon gave up drinking and took a number of courses to help get his life on track. He followed the 12 Steps programme and now attends a local church. But like many prison leavers, at first he struggled to find his feet. 

Without the right support when they come out of prison, ex-offenders can find themselves vulnerable to homelessness or to returning to a cycle of offending. Over the past year, our Pan-London Offender Service has supported more than 1,600 ex-offenders, helping them to avoid getting caught in the ‘revolving door’ between prison and the streets. 

SHP helped Devon to secure a rented flat – an almost impossible task for many prison leavers who are excluded from the rental market due to obstacles such as providing deposits and references. 

Devon said: “After I was released, I was really worried about my future. Had SHP not helped me at that point, I’m sure that I would have ended up in prison again.” 

Now that Devon is in his own place, he can focus on his future – and on giving something back to the community.   

“Now I’m focused on getting a position working in a pupil referral unit,” says Devon.  “I want to use my own experiences to help young people who are facing the same issues I did when I was their age. 

“I want to help them make better choices by supporting them at an age where their decisions can have a huge effect on the rest of their lives.” 

Devon is also looking forward to spending more time with his family. 

 “Giving up the drink helped me to control my anger,” he says. “I’m in a much better place to spend time with my four children. As we approach the festive period, I can look back on how much my situation has changed over the past couple of years. I’m determined not to repeat my past actions. This year, I want to give my family a memorable Christmas.”