From unhelpfully labelled 'career criminal' to 'career qualified' with a second chance

In just one year, Brian went from being unhelpfully labelled a ‘career criminal’, to becoming a qualified ‘career Civil Construction Worker’.

We know having a stable, well-paying job is one of the leading factors for enabling a person to successfully reintegrate into their community after contact with the criminal justice system, and Second Chance Jobs has been designed using that knowledge.

Growing up in a large family, raised by a mum who battled drug addiction, Brian started using and dealing drugs when he was just 14 years old. Reflecting on that time in his life, Brian now says his intention was to alleviate the poverty he and his family were experiencing.

Brian’s first encounter with the criminal justice system landed him in youth detention. Next, it was a one-year sentence in the adult system, followed by a third arrest at age 23, when he was labelled a ‘career criminal’.

The narrative attached to this label didn’t take into consideration Brian’s love of poetry, writing, and the Arts. Throughout his journey through youth detention and the adult system, Brian recalls a lack of reintegration and rehabilitation support. He had to figure things out for himself. A big ask for a young adult, especially in prison.

Although Brian was unsure of what his future outside of prison would look like, he decided something needed to change. In time, he gave himself permission to let go of his “youthful anger and rebelliousness”. Brian’s evolving attitude led him to our Second Chance Jobs program.

Completing the program’s work-readiness modules set a solid foundation for Brian, who had never received a wage or lodged a tax return. It also gave him the confidence and motivation to successfully undertake studies in Civil Construction through TAFE while in prison.

After completing his studies, Brian was offered a job with one of our partner employers. On the day of his release, his Second Chance Jobs case manager picked him up, arranged his accommodation and provided him with work clothing and fuel money for the first week.

Brian was the first Second Chance Jobs participant the company had taken on. They were so impressed with his enthusiasm and commitment they have since taken on more participants.

It’s now one year since we met Brian. He continues to work full time, is excited about being able to provide for his partner and is considering starting a family soon. At 27 years of age, Brian changed the trajectory of his life by creating a second chance at a new career.

We are committed to supporting people on their journey from custody to community and we stand by our mission to create new beginnings and stronger communities. Ultimately, the level of support we give depends on our generous donors.

If you are able to contribute to our employment work, please chip in. Every little bit helps. All donations more than $2 are tax deductible and make a real difference to people leaving prison, along with their families, and all our communities. 

Vacro is a proudly independent, non-denominational and not-for-profit organisation with more than 150 years of experience in the Victorian community. Our staff live in the communities where they work. We know that the people we support want to contribute to society. They want to strengthen bonds with their families. They want to be their best selves. But it’s hard to do this alone.

Your donation enables us to give more people and families practical and personal support during what can be the hardest and loneliest time in a person’s life. With your support, we can be there. Together, we can change lives.

See the impact of our work.

If you believe in new beginnings and stand for strong communities, you believe in Vacro’s work. Chip in with a tax-deductible donation to support us today.

Vacro is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) from 01 Jul 2000. It is covered by Item 1 of the table in section 30-15 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.