Inspirational Portsmouth man on a mission to help prisoners into work

Former prisoner, Gethin Jones, who has turned his life around and who now helps to rehabilitate prisoners.'Picture Ian Hargreaves
Former prisoner, Gethin Jones, who has turned his life around and who now helps to rehabilitate prisoners.'Picture Ian Hargreaves
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PRISONERS could be given the chance to get their lives back on track by a reformed inmate who has turned his life around and made a success of himself.

Inspirational Portsmouth man Gethin Jones has revealed ambitious plans to launch a new scheme designed to rehabilitate offenders and get them into a job after serving their sentence.

His aim is to set up a new project which will give a small number of convicts from two prisons the chance to work with a building firm in Fareham.

The 46-year-old hopes this opportunity will be life-changing and give those who have served their time a renewed sense of hope – and more importantly a reason to stay away from crime.

‘I know exactly what it’s like when people have written you off,’ he said. ‘I spent eight years of my life behind a prison wall.

‘I had my first criminal conviction at 12 and first custodial sentence at 14.

‘By the age of 35 I felt I was a complete failure, that I was thick and that I would never be able to achieve anything.’

He said while in jail he made a conscious effort to turn himself into a success and rebuild his life.

Educational support officers within the prison system helped to motivate him to get his first maths qualification.

‘This support challenged my belief system and helped turn my life around,’ he added. ‘Within the next seven years I had gone from no qualifications to the equivalent of a degree.

‘Now I just want to give something back to others who were like me.’

Gethin says he has forged a link with CDM Contractors which is willing to accept a small number of low-risk offenders onto an apprenticeship.

‘What we need to realise is 98 per cent of the prison population is going to come back into the community,’ said Gethin.

‘Do we want those people to come back into the community with a positive mindset on how they can help or do we want them to come back into the community feeling more angry or resentful than they were before they went to prison?’

After leaving prison, Gethin started volunteering and within seven years was running a team of 40 social workers at Portsmouth City Council.

Recently he set up his own firm, Gethin Jenkins Unlocking Potential, working as an inspirational speaker at corporate events as well as hosting free sessions for the public.

The dad-of-three is looking to secure funding for his prison rehabilitation scheme as well as other businesses to sign up to the project. He said: ‘These people can be a real asset to any businesses, they just need a chance.’

Next month, Gethin is launching his new self-help book, The Last Day of My Old Way of Thinking which provides inspirational guidance in the style of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carole. For details, see unlockingthepotential.co.uk