C.E.N (Crime Education Network)

Making Reintegration Real

By Paul Ferris

From Prison to the University of Life

If there is a real intent to want to reduce reoffending, some people will have to moderate their approach for imprisonment. Although there is nothing glamorous about prison life, it is a place where time is wasted and we want the kids not to idolise people who have been in jail. The real character of ex-prisoners are shown when they come out of prison and are able to lead a crime free life, look after their families and when they are able to make use of the educational facilities whilst in prison so they are able to find suitable employment or helping the youths of today to change their path in life.

Some people also imagine that release from prison is a happy experience and it is in theory. The reality is the incarcerated individual most often loses every friend and relative they had in as little as 3 years of imprisonment. The person once released from prison is entering a world that can seem unwelcoming, unforgiving and unsupporting that hinders the rehabilitation process or in most cases some feel they have landed on another planet once their time is served as part of the punishment handed down to them by the judiciary. Prison and its intended purpose are to cement negative identities.

Everything I have done has consequences and I value those consequences because they are a mirror image of my past, present and future of my progress towards reengaging with social contracts to become a citizen and not a prison number.

I am responsible and I am free. I seek help to overcome addictions. I seek help for my health. I seek help when I need it and I deal with events in my life when they occur because I know that success comes to those who take charge especially if you know deep down that ignoring the problems doesn’t make those problems go away. I don’t accept excuses from myself and I don’t offer them to others. You shouldn’t either. I just want to help others who have travelled on the same path in life to change course for the better, to live crime free and most important of all is never forget who you are or where you are now in this university of life.

The realities that are cornerstones to rehabilitation are that people who have criminal convictions are not permanently criminal and that it is possible to reengage back into society. The main aim of rehabilitation is to stop reoffending “The Revolving Doors Syndrome” Rehabilitation would seek, by means of education through mentors who have travelled the same path. Everyone within Government, every section of civil society, every community leader, needs to play their part in making reintegration real.