Alison said before she went to prison she was stuck in a cycle of domestic violence and drug abuse. But the support she got from the Boronia pre-release centre for women in Bentley helped her turn her life around.
‘I was in a violent relationship for 12 years and I had no social life,’ she said.
‘Looking back I think ‘why the hell did I put up with that?’.
‘I was pretty distant with my parents beforehand and I had a drug habit at the time.’
Alison said that part of her life came to a stop when she was sentenced to two years’ prison at Bandyup for intent to sell and supply drugs.
‘It wasn’t just me doing time it was my whole family and everyone in my life,’ she said.
Alison’s parents took in her four children, now aged 6, 10, 12 and 18, under a Department of Child Protection order.
After Bandyup, she was moved to the Boronia pre-release centre for two-and-a-half years, where she spent most of her time studying and gaining qualifications.
‘I didn’t waste any time at Boronia; I studied a lot, did traineeships and focused on adding as much as possible to my resume,’ she said.
‘Boronia was easy, much easier than prison.’
Alison has been out for eight months and after the initial anxiety of being released, she said she had never felt better.
She lives in the southern suburbs with her parents and children.
She underwent drug tests to regain custody of her children.
‘I used to fight a lot with my parents but now we never do, we’re closer than ever,’ she said
‘I have a great relationship with my kids; they just love having mum home.
‘It is harder to relate to my oldest. They are still angry about the whole situation.
‘But it’s a nice feeling to be normal, free and clean.’
Alison said she was studying health and safety part-time at Curtin University and worked as an occupational health and safety advisor. She was saving to buy a house.
She said she was determined the break the cycle and keep negative influences away from her children.
‘I was one of the lucky ones. Ninety eight per cent of people end up re-offending,’ she said.
‘I have worked hard and I deserve a second chance.’
Her advice to anyone in a situation with domestic violence and drugs was to seek help.
For those already in the prison system, she recommended not wasting any time and getting ready to adjust to the outside world.
‘I have changed a lot in the past five years and I’m determined to never go back,’ she said.