According to some, crime rates have been falling for a while now. The validity of these claims is disputed, but even if there has been a decrease in the number of offences committed, what are the reasons for this? Is it tougher laws? Is it increased police numbers or better training? Or could it be down to an increase in the availability of psychiatric medication?
I recently read an American article which claimed that their own decline in crime had paralleled a period of improvement in the treatment of mental health and behavioural problems. Could it be the same on this side of the Atlantic? Could it be that the availability of anti-psychotics (and even such medication as ritalin for ADHD) could be responsible for our crime rates going down? I won’t pretend to know the answer to this but it’s an interesting thought and, according to the article I read, a 10 percent increase in prescription rates could decrease the violent crime rate by up to 0.7 percent, which would prevent as many as 10,000 violent crimes in the United States alone.
Continuing on from my last post, for some years now I’ve known that sorry just isn’t enough. It doesn’t make up for the past and nothing ever will. But that doesn’t mean that you stop trying. Whether you believe in it or not, the story of the devil being banned for all eternity is highly relevant here. It’s the story of someone who knowingly did wrong and was told that he could never redeem himself. In response, he didn’t even attempt redemption. He embraced his fate to be cast into hell, and decided that he might as well do whatever he wanted and take as many people with him as possible.
Well, I know I’ll never be able to undo what I’ve done, I can never take back the past and I can never make up for it. But I will not give up. Not at least trying to make up for your mistakes is almost as bad as making them in the first place. So I swear, I will spend the rest of my life, futile as it may be, trying to balance the bad I have done with just a little bit of good. I will help who I can. I will do what I can. I will find a way to make a difference.
Why? Well, what’s the alternative?
I’d like to apologise for a couple of things relating to my last post. The first is its length. They won’t all be that long, but I thought it was important to explain my sentence so far if I’m going to keep writing about it as time progresses. The second thing is the amount of self-pity that may have come across in it. Honestly, I don’t think I should be in prison any more. I think I should have been given access to the right courses and then released years ago. However, I am in prison because of my own actions and I have no right to feel sorry for myself.
In speaking to certain prisoners who are maintaining their innocence there is one thing I have said repeatedly. I regret what I did to end up in prison whole-heartedly and, if I could take it back, I would do in a second. But I do know one thing. I’d rather be in prison for something I did than for something I didn’t do. If I had to stay in here and I knew I was innocent, I don’t think I’d be able to cope. I’m here because I messed up. It’s those that are in here through no fault of their own that I really feel sorry for.
But there’s an even more important apology that I need to make too. I need to say sorry to everyone I’ve hurt over the years. I need to say sorry to my family and to my friends. I need to say sorry to my ex-fiance too. And of course, I need to say sorry to those that were hurt directly by my crimes. To my victims. To their families. To their friends. Even to the old lady who heard about it on the local news and felt a little less safe, or the teenage boy who was wrongly assumed to be up to no good because a minority of us actually were. And to anyone I ever hurt in any way. And to you.
I guess I should tell you a bit about who I am. The first thing I should probably make clear is that I’m not a “prison blogger”, I’m a blogger who happens to be in prison. Sure, I’ll probably write a fair bit about prisons, but prisons are not what I’m about.
I started this sentence when I was still a kid. I’ve been inside ever since. I grew up in here. But prison does not define who I am. I am more than just a number.
I’m not going to get into how I ended up in here – that wouldn’t be fair on the people my crimes affected – but I will say that I changed. I grew up. I matured. At times this change was encouraged by the system, and at others I changed in spite of it. But I refuse to be defined by prison. I’m a three dimensional person. I have interests, hobbies, skills. Yes, I’m a prisoner, but I’m so much more too.
I’ve often been told that, being in prison since childhood, I lack the life experience of people my age on the outside. Rubbish. I have twenty-eight years of life experiences. They are just different life experiences. But what use are experiences if you can’t share them? I’ve been writing articles, short stories, and poems for some time now – with varying degrees of success – but even the work I’ve had published has had a limited reach. I guess that’s the nature of prisons. They’re all walls and locked doors. However, that has at least motivated me to start this blog. To break down the doors, scale the walls, and share my experiences with the world beyond. And if you want to reply, if you want to ask any questions or to share back, please do, either through this site or by writing to me direct at the address on the right. It’s always good to know there’s still people on the other side of the wall.