This blog is to capture all articles relating to good work including initiatives and successes with regards to gangs (predominantly in London), but also good news stories involving young people more generally.

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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Former Carshalton gang leader Justin Rollins talks prison, crime and turning his life around

This is Local London 26th September 2012

A former gang leader who turned his back on crime has written a book about his days as a young offender.

Justin Rollins, 28, grew up in Carshalton and started his own graffiti-writing gang which turned to violent street crime.

As the level of violence increased Mr Rollins behaviour became more unpredictable and at the age of 18 he attacked two men with a meat cleaver on the London Underground.

The book, My crazy days as a young offender, describes his time in a young offender’s institutions as well as doing time in prison with some of the most infamous prisoners in the UK.
He said: "This is about my young years spent in prisons and young offender’s institutions, being really unwell mentally and having survived on the local streets.

"At 18 I was thrown in to prison with some of the most notorious prisoners in the country.

"They release you from prison and expect you to fit in with other ordinary people but it’s not like that - prison damages people.

"I wasn’t well mentally - I wasn’t the person I am today. I was seriously messed up and damaged.

"I was literally sleeping in Sutton bus garage.

"Then in one incident when I was outside Love2Love in Sutton it made me question my life.
"I started to realise the error of my ways and I went on to write my first book."

After his wake-up call Mr Rollins began to see a counsellor who helped him address the reasons for his violent behaviour and helped him come to terms with his past.

He wrote a book The Lost Boys, A Dark Side of Graffiti which looked back over his life growing up in Carshalton.

His new book, My crazy days as a young offender, focuses on his life from the age of 18 to 28.

Mr Rollins now lives in Tooting Broadway, he has turned his back on crime and does not drink. He wants to be a good role model for his daughter and is pursuing a career as an author.

For more information visit apexpublishing.co.uk



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