During the early hours of Thursday, 30th July 2015, my day one began. The beginning of the end was not the most conventional thing I’ve ever done, nor is it something I wish to make light of. We cannot justify or excuse crime but we can provide reasons for crime. However, your understanding of the reasons will be determined by your perspective, or your beliefs. Earlier, I saw the meme below and thought it a perfect time to share it.
“If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime,” helps no one, and does not even scratch beneath the surface of most people in prisons’ lives. I was the total opposite, as were and are several of my peers. I could do the time. Therefore, the crime became a means to an end. The punishment became the reward. Crime and punishment right there in a nutshell, or at least from my perspective. One which I know is not unique.
‘The causes of crime’, I would suggest we are all well aware that poverty, trauma and multiple disadvantages are very much the causes of crime, however, would we not be best served by focusing more on the effects of crime? For instance, a child of a parent in prison is, on average, SIX times more likely to end up in prison than children who haven’t experienced that specific trauma. The son of a parent in prison is 65% more likely to be in prison. Over 300,000 children a year are affected by parental imprisonment, you do the maths. Early intervention has to be fundamental in breaking the generational pathway to prison. A reason we have had the school to prison pipeline for so long. Imprisonment creates a ripple effect, which can last for generations.
‘Think of the consequences’. In what I wrote above I’m asking people to think about the consequences for the children, hypocritical of me considering I was a parent in prison. I can’t speak for my children but they were probably pleased. At least they got to have regular contact with me. Consequences follow actions, or the lack of actions. It all depends on your perspective and circumstances as to what the consequences are. It’s easy to sit back and judge someone from our own lens but it is a different story altogether if you could see their situation from their perspective. Most of us know right from wrong. Most people in prison also know the difference. Not everything in life is that easy, though. Desperation/addiction/mental illness all have their own burdens of consequence. Prison can sometimes be a positive consequence.
“It takes a village to raise a child,” however, be warned because “a child may burn down a village just to feel its warmth.”
I saw a quote the other day which said “if you can’t explain something to a ten-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Maybe it’s time to see more things from a child’s perspective rather than expect CHILDREN to see it from an adults perspective. It may allow us to understand more.