Quite correctly, government policies towards marginalised people emphasise the value of helping people turn their lives around – to overcome drug or alcohol addiction, or stop committing crime. Speeches by ministers on rehabilitating offenders, or responding to drug or alcohol problems, always include these objectives.
Unfortunately, the rhetoric isn’t being matched with action. Many government strategies and funding schemes do not prioritise activities that successfully enable recovery and rehabilitation. Rather than encouraging individuals to break the cycle and change their lives, more taxpayer’s money is spent on managing the consequences of continuing addiction or criminality.
Sadly, this is often due to a misguided lack of belief in people’s ability to change – that prisoners and people struggling with addiction will always be a risk, and just need to be contained.
At Forward Trust, we know from decades of experience, and thousands of stories like those featured in More Than My Past, that the opposite is true: given the right opportunity and support, a high proportion of marginalised people want to change, and can go on to achieve great things. With relatively small policy changes and funding initiatives, we can make a step change in the number of marginalised people transforming their lives – impacting greatly on their friends and family, the communities in which they live, and public expenditure.