Doing the Right Thing

17 Oct 2023
Imran Shabbir is Ingeus’ very own Mr Motivator. As a Personal Wellbeing Advisor for the Justice team in Nottingham, he works tirelessly with people on probation to help them understand and overcome their past behaviour... he too understands, having two prison sentences to his name. 
Utilising his own experience of ‘knowing it’s possible’, he shares his insights on building back the foundations of good citizenship. 

My story is proof that your past doesn’t have to define your future, and it’s a story I share freely with the people I’m proud to be able to help at work. 
Many of them, fresh out of prison or serving community sentences, have lost hope of a happy, productive life, just as I had. My job is to instil a new belief; that regardless of the past, everyone has the potential to live a good future and add value to the lives of the people around them. 

At 18, my life was on track. I had supportive parents and the beginnings of a career in sales. By the time I was 20, I had a home, partner, and baby daughter. Yet my bad choices and lack of self-control let me down and five years later, I was sent to prison for football-related violence. On release in 2010, I worked hard to put my life back together, now as a single dad. Unfortunately,  I  stuck loyally to friends taking a different path in life which contributed to me being back in prison after a few short years.
I felt I’d lost everything. In fact, it was the start of my life as I now know it.

My sentence at HMP Ranby in Nottingham opened my eyes to what I wanted to do: help ex-offenders succeed. I signed up as a peer mentor and used my sentence as a positive to direct my future. I progressed to become a peer advisor for resettlement and gained my level 3 in Information Advice and Guidance. I think rebuilding your life begins with a willingness to learn new things.

Life after prison can be tough and connections with other people, or severing them where needed, is so important. I was lucky to have people that believed in me, and the drive to get out there and do it. Thanks to a recommendation from the prison, an employer gave me a chance to start working in the rehabilitation sector. It involved an almost 200-mile daily round trip to Hull for eight months but I willingly did it, and undertook a Level 3 Award in Education and Training at the same time.

Fate intervened when I met Carrie Peters, Director of Justice at Ingeus, and, fast forward three years to July 2021, I began work where I am now, at Ingeus.. Ingeus lived up to its value of ‘Believe in Everyone’ and it’s a sentiment I couldn’t do my job without. 

As a Personal Wellbeing Advisor I thoroughly enjoy my one-to-ones with the people on probation I support. I hope I’m a solid role model for always trying your best and practicing what you preach. I’m also passionate about building up confidence and motivation, and forming positive relationships with the people around you to instil respect and compassion. A good example being my volunteering for Step Out Stay Out, an ex-offender footballing project that allows me to use my love of football to much more positive effect than in my early 20s. 

My experiences have helped me foster self-control and an appreciation of other people’s views. It’s important to be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes and to me, that’s the making of a good citizen. 

Nobody’s life is perfect, and we all measure success differently but after years’ making mistakes, my life is back on track. I have a job I love and am respected for, a partner, and a home with my daughter. 

Every day I see people who have made past mistakes, just like me. 
Yet most are willing to learn and work hard, are considerate, and want to do the right things in life. They just need the support and opportunity to demonstrate it, just like me.

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