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Mentoring is on the map, let's take it nationwide

Bob Miller (Comment, November 30) will be pleased to learn that much is already happening in prisons concerning mentors.

Here are two examples.

The government report "Reducing Re-Offending through Skills and Employment: Next Steps" suggested piloting a "campus model" for the delivery of prison education in two areas of the country, to be rolled out in 2009. Mentors are a key component, along with providers and employers.

At the same time, "Futures Unlocked", a recently established community chaplaincy project in Leicester, is already recruiting mentors to help prison leavers re-settle in the community, with a primary objective of reducing re-offending.

It is too early to quantify the effectiveness of this or other such projects in financial terms, although long-term studies in Canada do demonstrate success. But anecdotal evidence from the country's more established community chaplaincies testifies to the immediate benefits to the former prisoners involved.

Mentoring is now on the map. The challenge will be to make it work on a nationwide scale.

Kevin Commons, independent consultant, Wigston, Leicestershire.

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