Through the Gate service rated Outstanding in probation inspection


Through the Gate service, operated in part by the Wise Group as part of Durham and Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), has been rated “outstanding” during a routine inspection by HM Inspectorate of Probation.

The CRC, a not-for-profit consortium made up of nine partners including the Wise Group, was rated “Good” overall with three key areas rated as “Outstanding”.

Ross Stoker, who leads the Wise Group’s Through the Gate team, said:

“I’m really pleased to that the Through the Gate team have been recognised in this way. The passion and dedication shown by our mentors is unwavering and the rewards have been clear. Not least for the people we support through person-centred mentoring to settle back in to their communities and move away from crime.”

The parts of Through the Gate delivered by the Wise Group are reception and resettlement services at HMP Durham – the largest remand prison in England – and a large scale, professional mentoring service supporting male prison leavers. In the past year, the Wise Group has supported 870 people mainly with accommodation and money advice support, as well as providing assertive mentoring to 162 prison leavers.

Among the reasons for receiving the outstanding rating was the high morale and passion of mentors to empower someone to move away from crime. Mentors have a deep understanding of the challenges faced by many who leave prison, bolstered by the fact that half of the Wise Group’s mentors have their own personal experiences of the justice system. Sharon Pickup is one such mentor. Two years ago, Sharon was preparing to leave prison herself, daunted by the prospect of finding a home, never mind a job. Sharon was determined this time would be different and, with the support the Wise Group and other partner organisations, she broke free from the cycle of crime and is now using her experiences positively to help others. Sharon said: 

“I was surrounded by extremely positive influences throughout my sentence, especially from the Wise Group. I was inspired to keep going and it was and it is through their guidance and support that I gained confidence and I saw where and what I needed to be and helped me to shape who I am now becoming. I am loving being a mentor and hope that my experience will help others the way I was helped”.

Through the Gate’s mentoring support is operated by the Wise Group on behalf of Durham & Tees CRC. Customers receive person-centred support to build a pre-release plan that reflects their needs and ambitions. On release, a mentor will act the superglue that binds the person to essential services, helping to reduce re-offending and create safer communities.

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