INITIAL TRANSITIONAL SUPPORT (SYDNEY METROPOLITAN)
Francis was referred to the Initial Transition Service by his Community Corrections Officer early this year. He describes his most recent incarceration as being a 10-year sentence, because although it was for seven years, he served a three-year sentence prior to this with a very short time of release in between.
Francis has an extensive history of criminal justice system involvement, starting when he was in his teens. He describes his childhood as neglectful, but also says that this is not an excuse and that his life may have turned out the same way even if things had been different. Francis describes his offending as being drug-fuelled and says he found it difficult to stop, not only because it funded his substance use but also, he admits, because he enjoyed the lifestyle.
Both Francis’s parents passed away while he was in prison. His father died in 2003 and his mother in 2008, both from cancer. Francis is grateful for his two older sisters, with whom he currently resides. One of his sisters is a carer for the other, as she has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Francis and his sisters are quite close and use each other for support.
Francis also has a girlfriend who provides support, especially when he is feeling stressed or like he cannot cope. His goals for the future include settling down with his girlfriend, starting a family and getting himself a fulltime job.
Francis says he is over the lifestyle he previously enjoyed and believes he can continue on the new path on which he has started, feeling a level of self-confidence he has never had before. He attributes this to having achieved his longest period out of incarceration (which previously stood at eight months), as well as the support network he now has. “I’ve been shown a better side of life,” he says. “Now that I’ve come this far, I don’t think anything could stop me.”