How should the authorities respond to kids who are at risk of crime, drugs and custody? Andrew Brierleys story of his progress through care, prison and mainstream rejection to senior youth justice worker in Leeds contains countless clues for those who work with young people. It begins with failures to recognise and deal with his chaotic early life: being moved from place to place, fragmented parenting and poor role models. In a family home encircled by criminality, hard drugs, violence and perplexing adult examples he ended up first in a young offender institution then in prison. There he learned how to be, act and think as a prisoner for his own survival, something that only made matters worse when trying to re-adapt to the world outside on his release. Enmeshed in a downward spiral, hooked on drugs, dubious partying, not strong enough to resist negative and criminal influences and his well-being deteriorating, the book shows how small things made a difference. Random encouragement, people who took an interest, positive thoughts, those who gave him a chance, employers and not least those who recognised that his experiences could be put to good use as a youth justice volunteer and eventually working with young people.
Andrew Brierley describes repeatedly how he never saw himself as a criminal or identified with the world in which he grew-up. The strength of his hard-hitting story lies in how he survived that world, regained self-worth and the messages it contains for professionals and young people in trouble with whom he has forged a remarkable connection.
Emphasises where services can go wrong connecting with young people. Contains many insights for professionals in the youth justice field and those that remain in a world of offending, poverty and drug addiction. A fine addition to Watersides list of successful titles in this field, including Alan Weavers So You Think You Know Me?
, Ben Ashcrofts Fifty-one Moves
and Justin Rollins The Lost Boyz
Andi's compelling story shows why we should never give up on the capacity of people to change-- Jim Hopkinson, Bradford Childrens Services.
Andrew (Andi) Brierley grew-up mainly in and around Leeds, West Yorkshire where he is a Children Looked After/Care Leaver Specialist within Leeds Youth Offending Service. He also spent time in Stoke-on-Trent and the Midlands.