Ex-offenders are being given a helping hand to find work when leaving a north-east jail.
HMP Grampian in Peterhead has a team of work coaches who meet prisoners approaching the end of their prison term.
They provide help and advice with issues including housing, healthcare and benefits.
The work coaches then attend weekly meetings with representatives of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Council housing and social work departments, and organisations such as Apex, which support reforming criminals.
Once prisoners have left the jail and started the on-licence part of their sentence, work coaches help them access training, benefits and employment.
Prison work coach Fiona Ferguson said: “The priority for us is to help each person as an individual.
“Often we are dealing with people with complex needs and chaotic lifestyles.
“It can be as simple as ensuring someone has a bus pass, access to the internet and an updated CV.
“It is important the service user engages and does their bit. They have to own the process.”
Martin – not his real name – left HMP Grampian, pictured, in January after serving a lengthy custodial sentence.
To prepare for his release, Martin gained work experience at the Mission Cafe on Union Street, Peterhead, where he helped out for a year as part of a day-release programme.
Martin had battled against drug addiction over the course of several years, which left him with ankle problems caused by hepatitis.
Despite suffering depression, Martin managed to reduce his monthly methadone doses from 16 to one.
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His ankle problems have healed, he has moved into permanent housing and has found work at a cafe.
Martin said: “I’m really enjoying it. The people are friendly, it’s great speaking to the customers – and the food at the cafe is good.
“I’m really pleased with the help I have had.”
Mrs Ferguson, his work coach, said: “Martin has been on a journey and is a success story due to his hard work.
“He claims employment support allowance and can work 15 hours a week without losing that.
“He received help from Fair Start Scotland and his employer has been keen to help.
“There was recently a jobs fair at the prison and lots of companies took part.
“Many ex-offenders who gain work like Martin get into a routine and build up their confidence and become independent and – in the best way – they no longer need our assistance.”