Kristin: back with her family and off drugs

Kristin* , 38, hit rock bottom when she found herself in prison, separated from her children after battling with class A drugs for 20 years. Now more than a year after leaving prison, she says that education was her ‘saving grace’ as she is back with her family and holding down a steady job.

A few years ago things were very different. Kristin had a breakdown after suffering from many years of drug use and an abusive relationship. When she was sentenced to 21 months in prison for robbing a pharmacy to get pills she lost her job, her home, all of her possessions and most devastatingly, her two young daughters aged 5 and 12. The very first thing she did in prison was to get clean, and then she decided to study.

Stock image of two women prisoners and a teacher

But it was far from easy, as Kristin says: "I had no self-esteem and had completely lost my sense of self-worth. In addition, we were in our cell for so many hours a day that I felt like I needed something to occupy my time so I applied for a grant from the Prisoners' Education Trust (PET) to take a Substance Misuse Counselling Course and received it."

"The course was a life changing event for me. It gave me a goal and a focus. It helped me to build my confidence back up again. It helped me to distance myself from the past and look forward with a positive outlook."

Since Kristin was released from prison she has continued with her education and now plans to dedicate her life to making sure that others do not go down the same path that she has. Her ambition is to become a drugs key worker and she is studying a Health and Social Care NVQ as well as gaining work experience to help her achieve this aim.

“Education in prison gave me a second chance and now I am a changed woman,” says Kristin.

Right now, though, Kristin is just like any other mother, sending her two daughters off to school and encouraging them to be good students. They now have a role model in their home to look up to, a mother who is taking courses and giving back to the community through volunteering. She wants them to understand that education will help them stay out of trouble and make something of themselves.

* Kristin is not her real name