Rhys Rutledge, the founder of Defeat Don’t Repeat (DDR), started selling drugs at the age of 15. By 19, he was arrested and sentenced to 16 months in prison. Like many others, Rhys found very little support available to him after his release and quickly reverted to selling drugs, falling into what felt like a never-ending cycle. However, after seeing the upset his actions were causing to his close friends and family, he forced himself to make a fresh start by joining the British Army in 2009.
Since enlisting, Rhys has made a career in a profession that has provided him with the structure and discipline he desperately needed. He now holds the rank of Sergeant in 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and has seen multiple overseas deployments, including to Afghanistan, while also guarding HM The Queen on the Regiments’ ceremonial duties at the Royal Palaces in London and Windsor. This dramatic transformation is an exceptional achievement and one that he and his loved ones are unequivocally proud of.
Aside from his busy career, Sergeant Rutledge has passionately built the DDR concept by capitalizing on his own personal experiences. The scheme was initially focused on the rehabilitation of convicts and ex-prisoners, however the opportunities made available to him guided him towards preventative action, rather than finding a cure for those who have already committed a crime. The course aims to steer young and vulnerable individuals away from their troubled backgrounds, before they too become trapped in a harmful cycle of crime and repeat prison sentences.
A full article on Sgt Rutledge's DDR initiative will appear in the 2019 Regimental Magazine which is due publication in early December and the Forces Network article is available here.