This blog is dedicated to young ex-offenders trying to turn their lives around. (Inside Out Project)
Life is a learning school, and we must make mistakes to learn from them. Like a child testing a flame even though they were warned, it would burn them.
There’s an old saying in the Caribbean, ‘if you don’t hear, you must feel.’
The choices we make in life are given to us as ‘free will’, and the consequences of the wrong actions we may take will hurt our future.
Many people have committed petty offences at some point; only some of us are fortunate enough not to get caught.
I previously worked with young offenders and noted that many come from unstable homes with absent fathers and emotionally unavailable mothers. Sometimes their parents were already involved with unsavoury characters.
I’ve known children under ten delivering drugs to people while riding their bicycles.
Some of these children have been born to dysfunctional parents who probably had the same childhood.
But some children come from good homes where they have everything they need and still end up in the justice system.
I know that the system is corrupt and a person’s fate can be determined by the colour of their skin or social status, but that is another story for another time.
People deserve a second chance if they are not a menace to society.
In Stratford Westfield last week, I found a retailer selling clothing designed by young men reforming their lives. It was a great inspiration and one of the projects close to my heart.
I conversed with the guys working there; they are wonderful and are trying to set a good example to encourage youngsters in the surrounding communities.
Although it may not be ideal to be institutionalised, you can never beat lived experience.
There is hope for everyone if only they are given that second chance to change their direction in life.
Everyone has a story to tell.
Employers’ prejudices towards people who have been institutionalised, whether through mental health or crimes, come as an instant human response, but who’s to say that they have never committed an offence and escaped the hands of justice?
The system should open many doors to support people when they return to society, providing them with a life coach and the resources for basic living.
Many are left to their own devices without hope and end up back in the system as they cannot find any way forward because the powers that be are working against them.
The usual excuse is that there is not enough funding; however, it probably costs more to imprison them; the truth is that they have given up on them.
No one has a right to judge someone else if they are not walking in their shoes. No one knows the story behind a person’s conviction or the frame of mind they could have been in.
Peer pressure is one of the hardest things to fight, as you may become the target if you refuse to follow. It takes a hell of a strong person to stand up for themselves, and if the environment that they are living in is bad, then it’s twice harder.
Don’t get it twisted. I don’t condone bad behaviour, but it is a part of human nature.
Although I have never had any brushes with the law, it does not give me the right to think I am better. I am as able as anyone to commit a crime at any time.
There will be crime where there is poverty, and the rich have the money to pay their way out of trouble. Money speaks volumes.
Even some powerful people are corrupt and have caused much distress to the world.
Judging others and making them feel insignificant is unacceptable, as we have other defects in our lives that we need to work on.
If a person is taking steps to live honestly and positively, they are halfway there.
In everything, there must be a balance.
The Scripture of Balance.