Sophie Charles, a Roehampton alumna supports young offenders in a Feltham prison to ensure they receive education.
Posted: 4 October 2017
In 2009, Sophie graduated with a degree in Criminology and Social Anthropology from the University of Roehampton. She gained work experience volunteering for the British Youth Council and Girlguiding, worked as learning support assistant at a high school, and a family support worker at a prison. After completing her Master’s degree in 2012, she was part of a national Big Lottery funded project called Raising Your Game, helping young offenders with learning and communication difficulties.
Sophie Charles says “Working with young offenders means I have had many rewarding moments. During the Raising Your Game project, I worked with a group of ex-offenders whose confidence and abilities developed significantly whilst on the programme. They gained the skills to conduct a training session on learning disabilities in the criminal justice system to criminal justice professionals. It was an incredible experience to help these young people stay out of the justice system.”
During this project, Sophie aided young people to have their voices heard in decision-making processes in different services. She delivered learning disability awareness training across the country to criminal justice professionals. She also carried out research on the language used in court proceedings to find how it can be a disadvantage for young people living with additional needs.
On her time at Roehampton, Sophie said, “I absolutely loved being at Roehampton. It was the best three years of my life where I decided to do something to make prisons better. I am so grateful for all of the support from the lecturers and my third year dissertation supervisor, Dr Finola Farrant.”
In her current role at Feltham Prison, Sophie works with prisoners aged fifteen to eighteen ensuring young boys who are unable to attend classroom-based education and those with additional learning needs receive appropriate support.
On advice to students she said “One thing that everyone in this sector has in common, is that they not only want to make things better on an individual level, but on a societal level as well. A key attribute for success is to be resilient. Take opportunities to volunteer at organisations during your studies to gain experience you will need for your career.”
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