Letter of the Month - Ebrima, 23
Unfortunately for me, I am in a position where I have limited choice, freedom or control over myself but fortunately for me, you – PET - hold the key I need to open the door to my future
Ebrima wrote to PET in May 2016, applying for funding for a health and safety qualification. Here are his words:
I committed my offence in February 2015 when I was struggling financially, emotionally and mentally. I was under a lot of pressure at the time between trying to maintain a stable relationship after being forced into unemployment, struggling with school fees, juggling my voluntary role as a youth manager and coping with bereavement issues. I was not thinking clearly. Although I knew then as I know now that crime was never the answer, I couldn’t see past my current condition and state of mind; I turned to crime regardless and I am paying the price.
The purpose of this letter is not to bombard you with excuses. I can only blame myself for the choices I’ve made and I take full responsibility for my crime. I am focusing on converting this situation into a positive experience in regards to my future which brings me to the true purpose of this letter.
In the short space of time that I have spent in custody, I have taken the initiative to engulf myself in positive activities in an attempt to make the best use of my time in custody and not allow this experience to manifest as a complete waste of time. I have taken pride in conducting myself in a respectable and exemplary manner whilst in custody and I have tried my best to ensure my actions do not contradict the roles I play within the establishment.
After reading PET’s curriculum it has become apparent that PET funds the perfect qualification for the field of work I seek to gain employment in - the NEBOSH Nation Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health. This qualification is effectively the next step in the right direction for me becoming a health and safety representative, a job that will provide me with the financial stability to take care of my responsibilities (my family) and equally myself, on release. As it stands I have exhausted all the beneficial educational resources available to me in my current prison.
Unfortunately for me, I am in a position where I have limited choice, freedom or control over myself but fortunately for me, you – PET - hold the key I need to open the door to my future in health and safety.
I am an extremely dedicated and motivated individual and I need no further encouragement to pursue and achieve this qualification; I just need the opportunity. The main reason behind my ready, sufficient motivation is my family and more specifically my fiancée and two beautiful daughters, they are more than enough encouragement - my motivation is bulletproof. I have made a conscious promise to myself and my family that 1) I will not do anything that will in effect jeopardise my re-categorisation [movement to a lower security prison] and 2) I will do anything and everything within my power to better myself whilst incarcerated so I emerge equipped and ready to manage my responsibilities as a husband, father and respectable member of society. I can’t stress how much I detest my current situation, but I can confidently state I will never put myself in this situation again.
Anyway, onwards and upwards, as of today. I have two years left to serve of my custodial sentence. I believe that in that time I am more than capable of completing my NEBOSH qualification. I want to dedicate all my available time to productivity and my personal progression - so the sooner the better.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to read this letter and consider my application.
PET funds over 2,000 prisoners a year to complete distance learning courses up to degree level. To help a person like Ebrima make the best of their time in prison and life after release visit http://www.prisonerseducation.org.uk/donate
People in prison can write to PET at FREEPOST, PRISONERS EDUCATION TRUST
*Ebrima is not the letter writer's real name.