Switchback is an intensive mentoring programme helping 18-30 year old male offenders – Trainees – make real, long-lasting change after their release from prison.

Switchback is a London based charity that supports 18-30 year old prison-leavers to make real, lasting change through intensive one-to-one support and real work training.  We stick by our Trainees as they move through the prison gate, encouraging and challenging them to take control, enter work and build a more stable life for themselves. This is new territory for most Trainees: a frank, non-judgemental relationship with someone who is there for them on a daily basis. 

What are the issues?

It takes a huge amount of hard work and determination to change your life after prison and Trainees make an extraordinary choice to take the difficult journey with Switchback. Many of the Trainees we work with face a complex matrix of challenges such as:

  • Face homelessness on or shortly after release
  • Have an addict’s relationship with crime
  • Have highly complex family relationships and young children of their own
  • Know very little about the workplace and society’s infrastructures and systems
  • Respond to new or challenging situations with aggression or anger.

How do Switchback tackle this?

We offer these young men the long-term, unconditional support that prison, probation or re-settlement services cannot and act as an anchor amongst all the people he will come into contact with, guiding him to take control across all areas of his life. Switchback Mentors work intensively with these men three months prior to release, through the gate and into employment with the average length of contact being 16 months. We make it our mission to change the way prison-leavers think about and participate in society, enabling them to lead stable, rewarding lives.

  • Nationally, 49% of prison-leavers reoffend within a year of release. We are proud that for Switchback Trainees this is currently just 7%
  • Since we opened our doors in 2008, 57% of Trainees that have engaged with Switchback have reached a level of significant positive change
  • 78% of Trainees that completed the programme have secured permanent jobs.

The Switchback website