Our model is intensive and semi-therapeutic

It’s centred on a meaningful relationship between Switchback Mentor and Trainee that lasts as long as it takes. Our methods are careful and consistent whilst rolling with the ups and downs of real life.

Switchback Mentors are not volunteers. They are full-time, paid and highly skilled. They each work with a small caseload and they must be willing to become the most important person in a Trainee’s life whilst also working towards that no longer being the case.

A Switchback Mentor is in touch with a Trainee daily; anything from a quick chat to several hours talking through a single issue. One of these meetings every week is an Action Planning session. A Switchback Mentor helps a Trainee learn how to make the right choices, be reliable and get the help he needs.

We Have A Three Stage Process…


1. In prison

An eligible prisoner chooses to take part. During his last three months inside, he meets regularly with his Switchback Mentor and starts to plan for a stable future. That same Switchback Mentor meets him on the day of release.

2. In training

The Trainee starts at one of our partner training cafes as soon as he is released; learning in a real work environment. His Switchback Mentor helps him to learn how to make the right choices, be reliable, get the help he needs and practice trying new things.


3. In work

We work closely with a wide range of employers and arrange mock interviews, visits and work placements. The Trainee continues to build stability across all areas of his life so that employment is rewarding and sustained.


The Switchback Pathways


We encourage and challenge Trainees across all areas of their lives. We’ve broken these areas down into the Switchback Pathways shown in the diagram. As the Trainee progresses through the programme, we record specific achievements and changes in stability under each heading.

“Switchback is a key partner to us engaging our young men down the difficult path of their own desistance. I’m pleased they don't sugar coat it, they let our young men know it will be difficult but they are there to support them and the journey is not impossible”

Amy DixonHead of Reducing Reoffending, HMP Isis