An account of arriving back in the UK from someone who wishes to remain anonymous

I suddenly wake up, it’s quiet, an eerie quiet, which after several years in prison usually tells you to be ready for something. I stress and then relax. The quiet I hear is not of riots, fights and prison but the wonderful quiet of freedom. The quiet which, if you listen to closely, starts being filled with the sounds of real life outside confinement.

I start waking up fully and hear the sounds of birds chirping, the cars whizzing by, people chattering, of kids laughing, going to school. The sounds of freedom. Then I say a quick prayer and say thank you God and thank you Prisoners Abroad and all those who made it possible. I am in my own room, with my own kitchen and privacy without 100 other inmates around me, no officers and rules. I look back on the road I have just taken. It’s been just over two months since I arrived back in England.

Suddenly deported, after serving several years in prison and having lived in the USA for 40 years, I lost my home, my savings, my property, and was separated from my wife, son and family. Over 60 years old, what was I going to do? No money, food, clothes or place to live. I decide that I am not going to look back, but look forward on the journey ahead.

I reached out to Prisoners Abroad and it was the first day of the rest of my life. I put my trust and faith in them and knew that it was a process. A process in which they help you to restart and establish your life.

At the first meeting, just after I landed, they booked me in a room in a hostel, gave me money for food for a week and for my transportation, and new clothes. But the help I cherished most of all was them giving me a phone.

Having the ability to contact my wife and son after so many years was a priceless gift which I will always be thankful for.

They scheduled me with a weekly meeting to give me funds and keep me housed. They guided me on what I needed to do over the next few weeks, in getting my own place, a job, help in writing résumés (CV in the UK), job search coaches and many other items.
With their help I signed on to get government support, funds and housing. It took just thirty days for me to receive my benefit approval and receive my funds. Three days later with the help of Prisoners Abroad and the approval letter in my hand, they worked with their contacts, and I was in my own home. That day was the first day I felt really free, no one around me, my privacy and money in my pocket, speaking to my family.

It is hard to believe how much has changed in just over two months. With the help of Prisoners Abroad, I now have a job, a home, money and my family. I still am working on my driver’s licence, credit, and reuniting with my family. I knew it was a process that I had to follow.

I met others and decided I will not act as a victim but stay positive and move forward. I learnt that the past is the foundation for the future, and that journey lies ahead.

I look back at where I have been, and say to myself, that the future is for me to make, to enjoy and be happy, the past is behind me as a memory. I get up from my bed and say let my journey begin.
I am ready for my new adventure. Thank you, all of you who support Prisoners Abroad, for helping me get back my life and family. You sit in your office and help us, knowing the good you do, but you really cannot even begin to know the effect you have on our lives, on our family and all around us.

Thank you all so much.

Preventing homelessness is crucial.

Prisoners Abroad supports people who return back to the UK after prison; we find them somewhere to stay, provide grants for food and travel, and help them take the vital steps to a new life.