Tag Archive | Prisoner

The Duty of Rehabilitation

The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of civilisation of any country – a constant heart searching by all charged with the duty of punishment, a desire and eagerness to rehabilitate in the world of industry all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment, tireless efforts towards the discovery of curative and regenerating processes, and an unfaltering faith that there is a treasure, if only you can find it, in the heart of every person – these are the symbols which in the treatment or crime and criminals mark and measure the stored up strength of a nation and are the sign and proof of living virtue in it.”

-Winston Churchill

I’ve never really bought into the legend of Churchill as an idealised leader who could do no wrong. He did a lot of wrong in ways too numerous to mention here. But he did a lot of right too. The above quote shows a side to Churchill which I do admire. In many ways he was a forward thinker and his ability to stress the importance of punishment whilst also emphasising the duty of every person, including those punishers themselves, to have compassion and to rehabilitate was unrivalled in his time.

He was right: measured compassion is the virtue of civilised nations. But it is a virtue which I fear is close to death. It is true that as criminals we have neglected compassion ourselves but you cannot instil compassion in a person without showing them your compassion too.

Churchill’s belief that there is a treasure in the heart of every person is one I share. But many prisoners cannot see the treasure in even their own hearts. It is up to those of us that can see it to show it to those people and give them a positive sense of self-worth as a foundation to build upon. For those charged with the duty of punishment I would even go so far as to say that finding a prisoner’s inherent treasure, showing it to them, and helping them to cultivate it, is more than just a kindness or good practice; it is their duty.

More Than a Number

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.