So how do you know that an offender means it when they say sorry?
Feb 22, 2011
from Dave Walker's blog entry:
I attended a session in a well known, inner city prison full of local, inner city, young men with all the airs and graces of inner city life, drugs, violence and gang culture. These things don’t cease upon sentencing – if anything they can sometimes be more intense on a prison wing than on the street. Status can be everything on the wing and a new pair of trainers will do wonders for you on the respect scale.
To see a young man in an environment like this full of masculine front stand up to read a letter he has written to the parents of another young man he had beaten up in a gang related incident. To see this man physically shaking and weeping in front of the room I have described. To see some of the other men welling up at what they are hearing. To hear the regret that the realisation of their actions has induced: a realisation not at all prompted by the court process. To witness all this is the only way to have that big question answered. This is what I witnessed and I have absolutely no doubt as to their sincerity.
Last week we saw 9 Sycamore Tree courses come to a close. Nearly 200 men will have demonstrated their desire to change in this way. Such was the sincerity demonstrated in one prison that a woman who has suffered the murder of a loved one and had attended the course to share her story, stood up in front of the same total strangers and expressed her desire to forgive the murderers!
Say what you like, this is real and it’s happening all around the country.
The best way to reduce the ridiculous reoffending rates we have in this country is to never release anyone, ever, for any reason.
The only way I know in reality is to put a victim in front of an offender to explain to them what they are actually doing. Ask a drug dealer if he has victims and see what he says. Put him in a room with the parents of a young man murdered for no reason by strangers who were off their faces on the same drugs that your man is dealing. Now see what he says. The court process will tell him that he has done wrong but won’t teach him what those affected by his actions are going through. Only when this happens will you see real change. He knew dealing drugs was against the law before he did it so what is the point of merely telling him what he already knows and clearly isn’t bothered by?
RJ is the only way! (this would be a good song to the tune of Go West by the Petshop Boys).