Marsha’s Story – Client

Marsha 25.4.24

“I have been knocked back at numerous paroles and one night I felt very distressed in my cell and I had a dream about my mother telling me to look under my bed. When I woke up I found the Inside Times and read an article about New Connections. I immediately wrote a letter to New Connections pouring out my heart.

Ted came to visit me in prison and my immediate thought was how posh he was (he could have gone to Eton) and that we wouldn’t be able to communicate with me, but I could not have been more wrong. Ted made me feel valued and listened to. He was patient and kind and even when I shouted due to my mental health complexities when I was upset explaining my story, he didn’t react and kept talking to me calmly. He has so much patience. He is always professional and consistent and listens attentively. Before this, I thought I might die in prison.

I couldn’t believe it during my Parole Hearing when Ted spoke, the Judge listened and said ‘That is what I was thinking’ to something he said. I have been in and out of the parole system since I was 14 and I have never heard a Judge respond like that to something someone said. Ted can talk to anyone on any level. I couldn’t believe I had this man on my side!

If it wasn’t for New Connections I would have come out and either reoffended or be smoking crack now. They gave me a support network so tight and now I have them, a mentor, a mental health worker and supported housing.

I am so grateful. New Connections have saved my life. I suffer from mental health, paranoia, personality disorder, bi-bipolar and ADHD. There are times when I feel so manic my paranoia kicks in. I contact my support worker Radha, which New Connections put in place and she helps me to keep calm. I have tears in my eyes, New Connections have saved my life.

I am the voice of all IPPs suffering in the system and unjustified sentences are no longer handed down. As discussed in the House of Commons Mr. Blunkettsaid he regretted giving out IPP sentences.

I have been up two nights in a row writing this letter. I suffer from learning difficulties, but I feel compelled to talk up what Mr Baillie done for me. I even went up to the point of trying to commit suicide while I was in prison before New Connections came into my life, I was sectioned while I was in prison under the Mental Health Act and I suffered a stroke. I was unconscious for seven days and in hospital for two months, now on medication for the rest of my life. Mr Baillie made me have hope when I was low, and knew I was not alone, New Connections was in my corner fighting for me.

I am not talking just for myself I am the voice of all IPPs suffering in the legal system with an unjustified sentence. I was handed down four years and nine months and spent 15 years in prison. “

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