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Frank Booth

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Ex-cons oppions about rehabilitation vs just doing time. Working our way back into society and accepting society is slow.

I'm an ex con, did a lot of jail time in NY and know from the inside what it's like to carry the "brand" around the rest of my life. Know the problems of doing time and what it's like to try to live with the stigma of my past life, for the rest of my days. I know the daily adversity of the "system" even after one has paid his price of jail time, there is an ongoing price that will be paid the rest of my life. It's been over 30 years and I still, to this day pay.

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      Mar 9 2013: Carolyn and Frank,
      Your suggestion Carolyn, reminds me of a book and workbook we used with some of our programs. It's called "Houses of Healing", written by Robin Casarjian (available on-line). The book contains stories, written by incarcerated offenders, telling about their lives, and the workbook guides and facilitates workshop sessions. It was used by a couple states, as a requirement for early release.

      Writing our stories...sharing our stories...contributes to the healing process, as you insightfully know Carolyn.
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        Mar 9 2013: hmmm To be honest Carolyn, you and Colleen have me on the ropes now...smile.. I'll try to follow the bouncing ball though. I'm definately getting the feeling that I am amoung great people, I don't say that to flatter you, but, as an observation of the two of your comments and thoughts. Beyound what most poeple are capabule of. Thank You I shall find that book.
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      Mar 8 2013: Committment to a cause? Do I have it? Can I see this through? To be honest I don't know. What I do know is that it's a "calling" that I'm afraid to start.


      Thank you for your responce Carolyn. OK. Ideas, this is what I'd like to do. Break down my ideas into sections, each section building on the whole. As I see it, the magnitude of the problems facing a solution will take a clear view of an entire program. 1. An awareness by our leaders that what we've done to this point has not worked, or at the very least, worked rarely. 2. A presentation of a system that addresses what we can do to change the past efforts. 3. Educational teachers, especially early age teachers, Family courts, Crimminal courts, and Community leaders will need to work together from the very first sign of a troubled family, and children, to take a differant course in addressing the real problems of children and young adults.

      The ideas are unfolding as I think on the problems, some of them are old ideas, some of them hit me as I try think about a solution to the question of, being a part of the solution.

      I may have false starts on ideas, or presentation may be out of order at times, but, I will do my best to present my ideas in a clear orderly manner. I'm not very well educated so I'll ask your forgiveness up front on the way I say things, as well as my poor spellling.


      We, as a society have to see that disposition of family problems and childrens problems should not wait until they become "wards of the state". Without intent we try to treat children and familys "after" it gets so bad that it's too late. Physilogical, or an understanding of the individual and family "needs" are overlooked in the interest of expidition of volume of the problems, until the family is shattered beyound human understanding.

      So, if you are still interested, I'll proceed? And of course appriciate any input by anyone. Please keep in mind, I'm limited in typing space.
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        Mar 9 2013: You say you're afraid to start Frank? You've already started:>)

        You speak insightfully about families....
        I also volunteered in a women/childrens shelter, family center, and had a short stint as case reviewer for SRS (the agency that oversees children in state custody....often because of dysfunction, abuse/violence in the home). We saw the same families in all of these systems....sometimes for generations. All of these systems are failing. In order for change to take place, the cycles need to be broken somewhere along the way. Like you insightfully say..."Family courts, Crimminal courts, and Community leaders will need to work together from the very first sign of a troubled family, and children, to take a differant course in addressing the real problems of children and young adults"

        This is one reason I suggested speaking with high school students and kids at risk.

        It is good to look at the "magnitude of the problems" and have a "clear view of an entire program". My observation, is that when presented with an "entire new program", the powers that be, say something like....it is too big an undertaking.....there is no money available.....etc. It seems overwhelming to them. In general, I found that the "powers that be" within the agencies respond better to small persistant steps.

        I certainly don't want to discourage you from addressing the whole package. I'm just saying that it might be frustrating for you and those you are trying to convince.

        With my deal and the administrators, for example.....EVERYBODY in the facility KNEW what was going on, and none of them could speak of it for fear of losing their jobs. I was only a little volunteer, and I had nothing to be afraid of. Well, they DID try to mess with me a bit, but nobody told me that challenging the dept. of corrections would be easy! Patience and persistence! Actuially, that task was not as bad as when I challenged a toxic business....my life was threatened for that one!!!
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          Mar 9 2013: Hi Colleen, Hi Carolyn, and any others paying attention,

          Let me start off by saying I have faced my demons, my personal fears and disibilities. Some of us may want particulars, for whatever reason, but, If you see a purpose to it for our mutual understanding and a group awareness that I'm not just a "pretty face" fine..laughing.. I'm not worried about being judged, just misunderstood.

          My exsperiance of comming from the background I did was that it was a horrible life that I thought there was no hope to escape. It was in a time when child abuse and neglect was swept under the carpet and hiden. So, we've made some progress, but, we all know more needs to be done. Back to my exsperiance, ran the streets as a very yound child and when "we", I was not the only child in the family, where taken away, we where put into brutal institutions, such as you where talking about earlier Colleen. It's no wonder I had an "attitude" towards society. I seen things and exsperianced things as a child, most adults couldn't live through. I can be very spicific but why bother, it's history, and don't want to reach for sensationalism, when what we need is a belief I know what I'm talking about. But, I will tell every single detail about my life, at the proper time and proper arena if it helps. Some things are pretty horendous and the public arena may not be the place to start.

          Although I like Carolyn's idea, I talk to my child within. Interesting, I rarely acknoldge him. The best I can do is seek ways to prevent others from having the same exsperiance as me.

          Would love to hear from anyone that read my ideas and my approach to these problems. John F Kennedy, I think he said: See things as they should be, and ask, why not?

          Colleen and Carolyn have the courage of true faith and I hope to emmulate that.

          I'll be listening... Have to go babysit my grand kids now... till later. Frank
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        Mar 9 2013: Frank,
        I think I am aware that you've faced your issues....certainly hope I did not suggest anything different. I don't need any particulars, nor have I judged you in any way.....again....hope I did not send that message.

        I also am from a time when domestic abuse and violence was swept under the carpet, hidden, and not talked about. In fact, we were told NOT to talk about what went on in our home...or else!!!

        It is my background that led me to volunteer at the woman's shelter, and although I thought my childhood was truly horrible, which it was, there were so many stories that were SO much worse, I began more and more to study, research and work toward change.....which led me to volunteer with domestic assault offenders who were incarcerated....which led me to various other related volunteer positions.

        When I was volunteering with corrections, many people asked...." why do you want to interact with "THEM". My answer was "why not"? If we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem.
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          Mar 10 2013: Morning Guys, Gals, children of all ages..smile..

          First off, Colleen, I never got the impression that you or anyone else were judging me in any way. If anything, It’s quiet the opposite, I’ve been treated with fairness and respect and my hope is that I have followed that example.

          I think it was Carolyn, the other day, mentioned my brain, anyone know a scientist would like to look at a persons brain who has, to some degree, come out the other side? I’m already making the arrangements to donate my body to science, see if they can find out from it. But, that’s a separate thought process..

          Volunteers, have always been the main force of hope for many of us, and my hope is that they could play a very large part in the process of solutions to “a way out of the treadmill of repetition”. The volunteers, councelors, therapist, and everyday people, are the ones who see, feel, and have to live with the memory of futility day after day. Look at the statistics. These are human beings.

          I think Random Chance laid it out very well as to what’s going on with the “system”. And most to us know firsthand the effect it has had. But, when it comes to solutions, on a level that will have a true change, they, as well as the effected, rarely, if ever get consulted, or brought into the conversation.

          Here's some questions for thoose amoung the TED family. To some degree, it's a challange and test. Is this a "idea" worth sharing? Would the fellowship of TED give it any attention? Research, meetings with caring professional, and escpecially, none professionals would have to be had to get to the facts. This effort would be like trying to write a symphony, with just the right amount of notes, as one great composer put it, "no more or less notes, then needed.

          brief continuation to follow.
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          Mar 10 2013: So, the last question which, I guess, is to myself is, do I get ignored? classified as insane? Dangerous? Or, can we open our minds a bit more, and try something differant, an exciting journey together towards a mutual solution away from the treadmill of the past?

          As always, input by anyone is appreciated. Frank
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        Mar 10 2013: Good morning Frank,
        Do you feel like you are being ignored here? Classified as insane? Dangerous? Some of our minds are open....do you trust that? Personally, this is not a new journey for me, and I'm honored to take it with you if you wish. Yes.....I believe you insightfully realize that your questions are to yourself:>)
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          Mar 10 2013: Morning Colleen,

          No. the fact that I've gotten as many responces as I did, tells me I'm not ignored. But this isn't about me, as much as it's about the "ideas" I've presented. As far as I know, and I might be wrong here, those ideas are getting lost. The ideas are what matters, not me.

          I know this is not a new journey for you, as many countless of thousands of people. But is that what it's about, the same journey? I do trust that their are very open minds at work here, but, having said that, my ideas are not really being discussed. True the adversity to such ideas where talked about, and that needs to be done as part of this.

          I was asked for my ideas, even a little pressured for them. And I've presented a few. I "know" I can't go much futher then that, unless my vision, of an alternative responce to the problems, is not shared by others. Attack my ideas, Agree with my ideas. But, I don't think they getting a fair hearing. I'm an infant at this, and maybe that's a benefit.

          I'm honored to be getting to know you Colleen. I've traveled "our" road and have the upmost respect for you. I cannot take this journey or project on alone, it takes a team with a common vision, and the only way that can happen is if "we" can bring the right people together to exsploy, discover and work towards that vision.

          In closing, some questions, yes, are to myself. But, others are directed to all of us. Let's not ask ourselves why? Let's ask, Why not?
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        Mar 10 2013: Thank you Frank, for clarifying the question of judgement.....I appreciate the feedback, because I was concerned that you had interpreted something in a way it was not meant.

        I have seen many statistics, and realize that we are all people, sharing this earth. You are correct, volunteers are very rarely, if ever... consulted, or brought into the conversation", which is why we (volunteers) need to "push" our way into the process whenever possible, in an effort to facilitate change. Too many people are complacent....don't you think?

        Are you aware that there have been several conversations on TED regarding this topic? Yes...definitely it is an idea worth sharing, it has been shared, and hopefully will continue to be shared until circumstances change. You on board with that?
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          Mar 10 2013: I have no exsperiance with TED up until recently listening to their insightful and wonderful talks on differant subjects. I would have to think on your inclusive invitation before I can make a dission. If I thought that I could be "part of" the input, and not just a part of the audiance, then I might concider that.

          I Thank You for your kindness and efforts to understand. Frank
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          Mar 10 2013: Thank You Colleen,

          I will listen attentely to them and will let you know what I think. Very thoughtful of you.
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        Mar 10 2013: Frank,
        Why do you say or feel that your ideas are getting lost? My feeling and observation, is that there is an exchange of ideas. You say your ideas are not being discussed.....what specifically do you want to discuss, and how do you want to discuss it?

        The links I provided are conversations started by people in the TED community. You were asking if your topic is an "idea worth sharing", and I am trying to let you know that it is something people are concerned about....an effort on my part to encourage and support your effort:>)
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          Mar 10 2013: Thank you Colleen,

          Again, your kindness supersedes my lack of exsperiance and knoledge.

          I did check out the discussions being had on the sites, and my view is that the first two are people venting and knowing what the problems are. The third site I checked out was much more beneficial for my awareness that we do have some very good programs going on that I wasn't even aware of. I truly hope, instead of statewide, some of thoose programs can go nationwide.

          But, my ideas have more to do with the families in early distress and young children that are in that life, and what we might be able to do about that. That's where it starts, before they hit the "justice system". Family courts are overloaded with these "cases" headed to criminal court.
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          Mar 10 2013: PS: As this unfolds, I'm seeing that I should probubly change my topic to perhaps, "Families and Children Headed to Criminal Court" As you can see, This is coming out in a very differant way then I had assumed it would. My original idea had nothing to do with my arrival at a surficing goal. Let's just keep exchanging ideas and see where it leads. Thanks for your support.. Frank
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        Mar 10 2013: Yes Frank,
        Ideas having to do with young children and families in distress, is a different angle on a related topic, to the topic you presented.... "Ex-cons oppions about rehabilitation vs just doing time. Working our way back into society and accepting society is slow".
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          Mar 12 2013: Colleen,

          Been thinking on things for awhile, trying to understand if I have the energy to start a new conversation that's more directed to my ideas. I don't need to tell you that seeing our history can be very draining. But, one thing I'm sure of, is that this conversation has been not only awakening, but also has restored my faith that there are a lot of good people in this. I thank everyone for the comments and suggestions. I truly believe this started with an intent of the well being of others, and even if misdirected and confused, it was the intent that counts. Thank You... Frank
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        Mar 12 2013: Hi Frank,
        We have touched on several different angles of the situation in this discussion, and if you want to focus on children and families in distress that's ok....it just needs to be clear to those who comment, which direction you want to go with discussion.

        I agree...comtemplating or pondering our history can indeed be draining, and I also agree that there are many wonderful people in our world who want to support us in our life journey. By helping others, we have the opportunity to learn more about ourselves.

        You mentioned in another comment, the idea of haveing a "team" of people working with kids at risk, and that is a great concept. As a case reviewer with SRS (oversees kids in state custody), that was my job....facilitating a meeting with the child, and all the players in his/her life...case worker, educators, medical professionals, foster parents, biological parents (when appropriate) other relatives who interacted with the kids on different levels, etc. etc.

        This review is required by law in this state, every 6 months for every single kid in state custody. I was filling in for someone on maternity leave, so my experience was only for a short time, but in that time, I noticed that even though there was a law in place requiring the "team" to evaluate the situation every 6 months, it was not always happening, and/or all the players were not in attendance, etc.

        It was the same as you mentioned about jail/prison/correctional facilities....there are laws requiring educational and rehab programs that are just NOT happening. The general public often knows about the requirements, and assumes everything is as it should be. We know that is not true. We have some pretty good laws and requirements, and if they were implimented on a regular bases, the systems might change....at least a little.

        As I said in another comment, with the privatization of many facilities, there is no incentive to implement educational/rehab programs.
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      Mar 9 2013: Hi Carolyn,
      One of my "problems" with the administrators of a certain facility, is that they were providing drugs to the inmates. A CO (correctional officer) brought the drugs into the facility and sold them to inmates. The administrators were getting a cut of the profit and ignoring the sale and use of drugs within the facility. That was the FIRST "problem" I observed.....there were more.

      The only ones who "ganged up on me to block change" were the administrators who profitted from the sale of drugs inside the facility. The state Dept. of Corrections did an investigation, and I was not the only one who testified before the legislative body which oversees corrections in the state.

      I have not been involved as a volunteer with the dept. of corrections for many years, so there is nothing to be secretive or worried about.....I don't think!!!
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    Mar 16 2013: Morning Colleen,

    hmmm. Focus.. by communicating with you guys and gals, I'm thinking that being that there are many helpful programs for the ex-con and examining where "my" problem started, perhaps I should shift my focus, and direction of thought, towards an earlier time in the ex-convicts life and family exsperiance, in the family court arena. Of course we could try help impliment the Vermont Ex-con program in other states, God, knows some states do nothing.

    But, my exsperiances, as Kate stated, is that the real failure of the "system" starts in family court and exstends from there. The horror and abuse these systems put human beings through, I've exsperianced first hand, and perhaps that's what I'm trying to exspress, with hope that by shinning a light on the facts, we can find an avenue to address and stop what I refer to as "the treadmill of failure" of the system.

    Colleen, I kinda owe you an apology. When you invited me to a conferance, I was distracted and even more confused by this process then I am now, if that's not to hard to believe..smile.. What I should of said instead of "I'd like to think about it", is, Thank You and I would be honored. So, Thank You. Of course, to choose the appropriet conferance, with my lack of knoledge might be difficult. So, if you have any suggestions, I would be grateful.

    Thanks.. Splash
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      Mar 16 2013: Hi again Frank:>)
      I suggest that "failure" happens on many different levels, in many different systems. That is why it is easy to go in different directions with this topic. We can focus on any one system, or program at any given time, and I think/feel that change will happen when there is awareness and participation with the entire community.

      Now I'm confused.....I invited you to a conference? Try not to "should" on yourself. In my humble perception, any and all information is valuable, so from my perspective, there is nothing that is more or less appropriate. It depends on what avenue you want to explore at any given time.
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        Mar 16 2013: Thanks Colleen,

        And now, I have to think for a day or two. Try not to "should" on myself..smile.. Let you guys know what I'm thinking in a couple of days. Thanks Splash
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    Mar 15 2013: Hi Kate,

    Sorry it took a bit for me to respond, thinking on things.

    Yes, Random, Carolyn, and Colleen have been a wealth of support and wisdom. But, don’t think for a moment that you cannot add to the experience. Just your years working within the child protection agency’s is beyond what I would know about.

    It’s been somewhat of a rude awakening that my original topic has changed focus and purpose. I’m now struggling with starting a new conversation because of what I’ve learned from all of you. Perhaps: "Families and Children Headed to Criminal Court". If anyone knows of any state programs such as the one that Colleen sent me geared toward my original topic, but, on young families and children affected by family court systems and institutions, I’d appreciate getting that.

    As for my original topic, Colleen sent me a site from a conversation started by Mark Johnson, which seems to be a fantastic program that addresses my original concerns of what we need to change, and I’d love to see that program go nationwide. http://www.vtfa.com/publications/fifteenyear.pdf Kind of restores my faith that things may be headed in the right direction with the justice system.
    Reading your comments about, Resources, not being available. I wonder, as in the case of Vermont’s efforts, if there are any states that are making different efforts? As for invasiveness and judgments, don’t we do that to a lessor or more degree every day in family courts across the nation?

    My conscious dictates that I think before I start a new conversation, but, more information may change of modify that conversation of the subject matter. So, if anyone has any information about family courts, new or effectual programs geared to that, I’d appreciate that.

    Again, I thank everyone for your input.
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      Mar 15 2013: Hello again Frank,
      This topic has many different angles, so try not to "struggle" with it....ok?

      You said you would like more information? Ask and you shall receive:>)

      The Restorative Justice programs have been used nationally for quite awhile, and they certainly could be used more. Google "Restorative Justice" or "Real Justice", and the state, to learn what different elements are being used, because there are different practices used for events, in schools, through the court systems, etc. IT WORKS, in my humble perception and experience:>)

      http://www.atg.state.vt.us/issues/court-diversion.php

      http://doc.vermont.gov/justice/restorative-justice

      http://www.nyscommunityjusticeforum.org/Initiatives/CJHome.htm

      http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/10/17/08restorative_ep.h32.html

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restorative_practices

      https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/bal.pdf

      http://www.ojjdp.gov/mpg/progTypesRestorative.aspx
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        Mar 15 2013: Shoot, now I have to read...smile..

        But, Thank You Colleen, as always thoughtfull and kind you are.
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          Mar 15 2013: LOL! Be careful what you ask for.....you might just get it:>)
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        Mar 16 2013: Morning Kate,

        Seems I'm not the only early riser..smile.. Thanks for the insight. I'll be thinking about what you've said and if I decide to start that conversation, hopefully, will approach it better then I did this one. But, I have learned a lot, first of all, that there are good people that truly do care, and secondly, like yourself, thoose people do have a lot more exsperiance then I do. But, being part of the conversation with you great, yes, I said great, people isn't what I exspected. This arena of TED seems to be a place where our "notes don't get shreaded" so to speak.

        So, I'm going to think on these things we speak of, maybe be more aware this time, do a little research, and be somewhat more effectual, both in my target topic, and facts.

        Part of a solution? Your comments, as well as others, have forced me to think about that "before" I start.

        Thanks.... Splash If you've read the book, Quantum Physics, it never fails, You'll know what Splash means.
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          Mar 16 2013: Good morning Frank.....good evening Kate:>)
          I agree Kate....there are some stories that make our hair curl! How can people do these things to other human bings? Then we have the systems, that fail to help people break the cycles! It is frustrating. I have been away from participation in any programs for several years, and I also hear that things have not significantly changed.

          I do not understand your qualms about this conversation either Frank. It appears that it did not go in the direction you expected, and as Kate says...we are all learning from each other and your contribution is very valuable because it comes from a different perspective.

          Your ideas about how to change the systems are similer to mine. The thing I observed, is that many of these ideas and programs are established, and many times NOT implimented. It seems like once an individual, or a family are in the systems, they become part of the system, and lose their identity as a real person. I've seen little kids put back in foster homes when there was substantiated abuse by the foster parents. I've seen men incarcerated who tried to move through and out of the system, only to run into roadblocks by the administration.

          In one of the facilities, there were two guys, lifers, who started a GREAT program called "Get a Life". They told their stories, gave participants (usually high shcool students and kids at risk) a tour of the facility, talked about how it was to live in jail, how their life was now....etc. Local high schools made it part of their regular classes, other offenders began being involved and it was a WONDERFUL, educational experience.

          The administration seemed to support it, and it continued for a couple years. All of a sudden, it was gone....cancelled.....and nobody knew why!!! There didn't seem to be any problems with the program or the people involved. The administration simply cancelled it. Those kinds of thing happened all the time.
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      Mar 15 2013: Kate,
      You ALWAYS have good additions, and you are a GREAT part of the "team" as well:>)
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          Mar 16 2013: Kate,
          Perhaps it is not about saying things different or better. Maybe we need to continue to say the same things over and over again until people "get it"?
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    Mar 16 2013: http://www.amazon.com/Why-Quantum-Physicists-Fail-ebook/dp/B00AXUUOUS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1363431586&sr=1-1&keywords=why+quantum+physicists+do+not+fail

    I recently read the above book and certainly opened my eyes to many things that I need to know. Splash is the main charater, Enjoy if you're so inclined.

    Please forgive me if I have been less then capable in exspressing myself. I never intended to exspress qualms, but, do try to reach for an understanding of myself and what "my" true challange is when communicating. You last sentence about my solutions becomming clearer is probubly closer to what is happening to me, although I seem to be the last to know it..smile..

    Hopefully with some humility, I can say that as you said, yes, I am one of the very few that have come out the other end of my history, of a shattered family, and it's a matter of public record where that brought me.

    I'm learning with all of us Kate. Again Thank You.
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      Mar 9 2013: Hi Carolyn, hmmmm Let me start with you last comment. Unorthodox, to say the least. Great idea, having the worker live with the family, but, practical? Been my exsperiance that there is so much violence, both physical and emotional going on in some of these households, it might be dangerous. Oh, it could be taken as a case by case evaluation and in some intantces, perhaps. I'll be for "anything" that might change the course of direction of effort we now have.

      I agree with your availuation about drugs, emotional, and developemental issues which plague families, these are the very things which need to addressed, but, the key to this whole theory is addressing the same problems we are aware of in a differant way.

      I'm going to go to your other comments and try to answer them now.
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    Mar 9 2013: WOW... I hate to keep saying that, but, I only know mostly small words. What a great person you are. Don't ever under rate the impact on peoples lives you've had. It was people just like yourself, who showed me a little compassion and kindness, that kept me from totally going off the deep end. I've always remembered people like yourself and have been grateful for that. So, Kudos for your pure soul and the "real" differance you make in peoples lives.

    I just sent you some ideas and need to rest and re-read your comments before I can say anything. This is draining...smile..
  • Mar 9 2013: Follow up Frank. Sorry.
    In other words, get more people "out of the families" by lessening and even eliminating the stresses being applied to this important and crucial environment.
    We don't need more people prying into the private lives and families of others.
    Keep them out and get rid of the stresses that contribute or are the outright causes of the problems many families face.

    It isn't the family that is the problem. It is the system (the environment) that is "CAUSING" the problems.
    I firmly believe that getting rid of the causes will solve virtually any problem in the lives of humans.
    Why wouldn't it? The causes go, the problems go. Without reasons or causes there are no reasons or causes for problems to grow, fester and become infected.

    Getting people to believe this, to agree, to think this way, will open your eyes wide. They will just not agree with it.
    It is too simple. Makes too much sense and no one will go along with it, unless of course, if there is money to be made off of it, then they might.

    The system is what is wrong.
    There is no such thing as a criminal mind, unless and until, an individual can be appraised, studied, observed and conclusions reached, in a society in which there are no reasons for committing a crime. Then, we may have a criminal mind. It is the environment and how it is appraised by those living in it, as to whether or not it is friendly, supportive, has what is needed for life, survival, growth and so on, or whether it is a threat, violent, resources are scarce and difficult to obtain and so on.

    You will find that most are institutionalized in the false society they call "free", as they are stressed, fearful and accept living like wild animals to survive instead of in peace, which those in power (the ones who do the institutionalizing), don't want. They are the only ones who don't want this. The rest of us/US do.

    Go forward. Walk through your fear. You don't know the "OUT - COME" but you will "COME - OUT" the other side.
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      Mar 9 2013: WOW..what insight. Well spoken, well said. In responce to your perspective. Most of it is true, yes. But, this journey will demand I ignore the present facts and try to plow through them, and into a new understanding of what is possible. I'm not saying I shouldn't be aware of the problems of our present reality. What I think, is that we can change things in a new way. I can't even imagine the can of worms these kind of ideas I have, will open up. But, thinking outside of the box, with emagination and creativity has never been for wimps.

      I'll be laying out my ideas as they surface, hopefully, with an understanding from the perspective and vision rarely taken into consideration. From the human being effected by the system, that goes, most times, ignored. I don't think it's done with intent most times, but, until we "see" with eyes of the, for lack of a better word, "patient" we don't really see at all.

      I love your understanding about comming- out the other side. The outcome of this effort is not in my hands, but, in a truth that if we don't include the "effected" in the process, we will always fail to value them as human beings, and as the most important part of the solution. To some degree, we stay seperate of "them". And we look at the problems as though it's a mystery. If we really take this challange seriously a new vision will have to be had. Scary hu? ..smile..

      Your comments and encouragement is the most valued possesion I can have through this. Please watch this unfold and help me work towards a new reality for the many who suffer from hopelessness and fear of things they do not understand, unseen by some of us.

      Again.. Thank You.
  • Mar 9 2013: Hi Frank.
    I am one who firmly believes that the masses of those citizens who believe they walk free are the ones who need to be educated first. Not by first working on "our leaders".
    Why? Because "our so-called fucking leaders" are supposed to follow our Lead, not theirs.
    Why the people? Because while it is true that many who are and have experienced being locked up, can and do, become institutionalized by the prison system, those who have been "walking free" are also severely institutionalized by the system they live in, and they don't even know it, care to know it, or even do anything about it. They call it 'freedom". They are idiots.
    You are up against severe, massive brainwashing, so waking people up to the truth is going to be very difficult. Now is an extremely important time in human history whereby humans really need to consciously realize; have a profound psychic change, that we are the same, need one another dearly no matter who we are, what we believe or what we have done. So, felons and the so-called normally insane people, have to wake up and find our bond.
    There is a tremendous amount of stress that has been added to the parenting environment over the decades, not counting the limited gender roles people were lied to about, forced into adopting, threatened with challenging, and then the added economic pressures everyone faces, most fail with, and the cliffs we find ourselves on the edges of. They all take their toll on us/US.
    Problems in families are indications of our societal environments that are taking a beating by the policies of those in power. Many times, troubled kids are early warning signs that something is wrong with the environment, not the child. Parents have an environment too.
    I also put the leaders off, because they already know this and intentionally intend no solutions.
    They profit off the problems they help create, just as our prison system is now becoming privatized, slavery-for-hire, and in need of more criminals, not less.
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      Mar 9 2013: Hello Carolyn,

      JUST US. Funny, but, it almost makes a important point. Seperate but equal. I'd suggest that is part of the problem. Most of my life I've seen myself as seperate, instead of "part of". To want to make oneself part of the solution, I know will take people into a hell that many good people face every single day, The unsong heroes that work in the system on every level. Trying with dedication and love to work to help people. The present tools and guidelines in place to help others I'd suggest is to the most part, isn't working, look no futher then how many people we're housing in mental institutions, prisons, and treatment centers.

      Before I go any futher, let me state, that I know nothing. That's a blessing, it forces me to intuitiveness rather then history or a preconcieved ideas, for open minded balanced approach to this.

      I'm getting the feeling that we think there are quick answers to these problems, if that was the case, this conversation wouldn't be happening. Family's shattered in some way? WOW, some way?

      My evaluation of TED and the people I've listened to so far, has shown me that their are so, so many Good honest dedicated people who are trying to chage the world for a better hamanity. And I probubly not worthy to even walk in their shadow. But, there are a few things that I can offer, my exsperiance, "from living in the shattered family", the hopeless look on the faces of the people in the system, when they looked at me, because they "knew" how it always turns out. They "knew" but, I didn't. And the tools they had at their disposal didn't work and they knew that also.

      I don't know what the word presentient means. Looked it up, but, still didn't get it. I'm slow...smile. That being said, do I know something that is helpful? To be honest, I don't know what I know "yet". I'm thinking this has to be a journey, not a destination. I'm running out of space, so I'll continue this with my suggestions in a new reply.
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      Mar 9 2013: OK, here goes, let me start off with a quote: The British politician Tony Benn put it well when he said, "It's the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you're mad, then dangerous, then there's a pause and then you can't find anyone who disagrees with you."

      I've had some exsperiance with the first 3 things, with the forth, only once or twice. More about that at some other time. I hope the point is understood.

      The first thing I would suggest is that we lock a committee of the best minds, that are willing, from various fields into a hotel for a weekend and present a package of well thought out alternitives to our present efforts. Alternitives such as, a team with real resources be assigned to each and every family and come to a consencious, first of all what are the problems facing this family, and then what individual problems each family member has. The team must never, never forget that the patient, or family "has" be be part of the solution. Try and see through their eyes, not the professionals, what they think they need to help themselves.

      Second thing I would address, is to ask the questions of the professionals, what resources are availible, what resources we can we add, and how we can we make the "powers" to be, see it's to their advantage, and societies advantage, to try a differant approach to this cancerous problem we have of shattered families and lives. More important then the questions possed, what do they see as the downfall of such proposals.

      Third thing is, a gathering of the exchange of information from the various fields, for a well thought out plan of attack, to aggressively handle the adversities these families face on a daily basis. Medical, Phychological, and moral attention would have to be part of the process. Education and opportunity would "have to" be part of the process, to what I'll term "a way out of the treadmill of repitition".

      I'll close shortly..
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      Mar 9 2013: A pilot program can be started to test these solutions on a small scale at first.

      The above are just a begininning of ideas. I need help, I lack education on many, if not all of the above. But, I won't let that stop my effort.

      Thank You, and please let me know what you think about these ideas, or how you think about the problem and it's solution.
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    Mar 7 2013: Welcome to TED Frank!
    I've read all of your posts in this discussion, suggest that there is a group of people, right here on TED who will listen, and you have to start somewhere....right? How about here and now....you've already started by opening this discussion:>)

    Was there ANYTHING in the system that did work? What motivated you to change directions? Have you thought about speaking to high school students, or kids at risk? Have you thought about mentoring? There are restorative justice systems in place in some areas...have you thought about participating, as a guide, in that process? I was involved with some of those programs in this state and THEY DO work. We had an ex-con on our board, and he was GREAT!

    I volunteered with the dept. of corrections for 6 years, and managed to change a few things within the system (like getting the top 4 administrators in one facility relieved of their positions, which they were misusing), so I have some idea about the pitfalls within the systems.
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      Mar 7 2013: WOW.. Colleen I'm impressed. A person who has actually done something to make things happen. Kudos on getting thoose administrators fired. That had to be one wild ride. I Thank You for the many you helped through that.

      In responce to you thoughts about doing some things such as speaking at jails, I've done that back in NY and to be perfectly honest, speaking to prisoners helps but, looking at things at my age now, and looking at things 30 years ago is very differant.

      I have a gut feeling that I should try to focus on a more solution based effort within the systems that have failed over and over. Oh, I'm not saying that some things haven't worked, such as me getting a limited education, even though education isn't really something the crimminal system supports, they do it because the law says they have to.

      I retired recently and moved to Florida, and little did I know how restricting and fearful this state is. I tryed to join a neiborhood watch program and they ran a background check and although I haven't been in trouble in over 30 years, they held that against me and denied me. I also tryed to get into the prison system to speak and became totally dismayed when I found out how long it would take and the amount of paperwork I had to fill out, only to be told that even after I had done the paperwork, I would probubly be denied anyway, because of my felony convictions. After the neiborhood watch exsperiance, I guess I'm just tired of being denied.

      As my thoughts unfold on these issues, I realize that if society really wants to solve it's problems in the areas we speak of, it would have to be a broad 3 fold effort, the educational system, the legal system, and the prison system, working together to understand and address the "real" problems we have. Until that is done, we're just putting a band aid on a society that's losing huge numbers of human beings. Just look at the numbers.

      Thank you for letting me rant. Frank
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        Mar 9 2013: Frank,
        You're having some good exchanges here.....I'm trying NOT to say it.....but.....I told you so!!! LOL

        We can ALL contribute to making things happen. One thing it takes is patience and persistance.

        Of course looking at things now and 30 years ago is very different....it is different for all of us. That could be a valuable part of your message, don't you think? You've said that even though you've changed in the last 30 years, the stigma is still with you right? That's something that younger people need to know.....don't you think?

        One thing I learned, when co-facilitating "cognitive self change" sessions with offenders, is that they often did not think about, or feel anything at the moment of the crime. One of the first questions I asked at the beginning of a session is..."what were you thinking? What were you feeling?" The answer was usually "nothing". They were apparently acting/reacting based on a knee jerk reaction, with behaviors they had often learned in their home and community environment.

        I observed that the system does NOT support education or rehab programs. Especially now, that many facilities are privatized. What's the incentive to education and rehab? We KNOW that most of those in jail/prison/correctional facilities are repeat offenders. What happens to the for-profit privatized facilities if they encourage and support education/rehab? It cuts down on their business. As you say, there are state and federal laws....however.....I observed that they were not effectively in place in the facilities.

        You say "if society really wants to solve it's problems in the areas we speak of, it would have to be a broad 3 fold effort...working together to understand and address the...problems". Yes....I agree. The challenge, is that most of society doesn't understand what the problems are. As far as most people in society are concerned, there are laws which provide education/rehab.....so what's the problem,? Frank, you are an important part of society.
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      Mar 7 2013: Hiya ZX Style,

      Thank You for your responce.

      You misunderstand, I started my journey of freedom many years ago, and have retired with an earned respect from a tough industry. I'm at the stage of developement where I want to give something of myself, in an effectual way, to help others who are trying to do something with their lives with a similar background. And at the same time, help perfessionals have an insight to help them see that boiler plate treatment won't work most times. If that makes sence at all.
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    Mar 7 2013: Hi George, My view is this is about human rights, christian or not.
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    Mar 7 2013: Hi Kate,

    Try to comminicate the best I can. And answer any question as honestly as I can. I'm brand new to TED so I have a lot to learn. Would like to hear from anyone, Ex-Cons or not.

    Suggestions for what type of rehabilitation might work? hmmm Who would listen, and what would an effort of that nature take? I guess I'm asking myself thoose questions "before" I try to meet what might be destiny of purpose.

    On an individual basis, I've tryed to help as many people as possible, don't much care about if anyone hears about it. But, this is my lame effort to be more effectual and try to reach a larger audiance and my struggle to be part of a solution to what I see is a lack of insight by society and the criminal justice system that "we" cons should have a voice.

    I'm a surviver of some of the most brutal and inhuman institutions, and have become a productive member of society. That unique exsperiance should not go to waste. I guess I'm searching for a way to let society and ex-cons know the reality of our actions, and how we can stop or at least change the direction of our efforts and thereby change many peoples lives.

    In responce to your secretes comment. I stopped that many years ago. Got what the state calls a "certificate of Relief from disabilities". It's suppose to give a person back their "rights". I had to fight for many years for that, and I had a federal law firm help me, and even they didn't know what to do at first. So, it stands to reason, that if federal lawyers, who's job it was to help my "kind", didn't know what to do, who does? It's time for me to make the effort and find a way for that effort to be effectual.

    My spirit has taken one hell of va beating over the years, and I'm just one person, but, it's an honest effort to communicate honestly with a hope that I can change things.

    I'm grateful for your response, but like many efforts in my life, even if I take a beating because of my effort, at least I'll know I tryed.
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        Mar 7 2013: Thanks for the advice about the reply procedure, I didn't know. And Thank You also for listening.

        You say none of us can understand how brutal the system is, please understand that some of us do understand. We lived it.

        I've thought many years about your questions, what could realistically be done both within the legal system and the prison system, big picture to thoose two things. They mean well, and are not the enemy most times. But, realistically, the prison system is a money system, drenched in blood to get any change at all. I was in during attica, so I know from personal exsperiance, change doesn't come easily. As for the legal system, it's become a numbers game, they are so overloaded with cases, because of the lack of time, they just move cases.

        To approach the two systems and give any advice, at a level where it would make any differance, would have to be done at a level that would make a differance. Do thoose two audiances care? We tread on dangerous and unchartered ground when we start to actually try to have a voice, that is contrary to the "systems" in place.

        I have many, many ideas, but ideas, like talk, are cheap. My ideas and exsperiance mean nothing unless there is an open mind to listen to them. Do we really think these systems would listen? And if that's the case, which I doubt, then I would need help to avoid the pitfalls of thoose who have come before me. These systems we talk about have a talent for chewing people up and spitting them out. Especially if they have a vested interest to keep things the way they are.

        So, the question, to me, isn't what my ideas are, that's secondary, the first question is, is there an authority or body that would want to hear them? Otherwise it is a lesson in futility.

        Thanks again Kate. Frank
  • Mar 7 2013: It does seem that an allegedly Christian country would value rehabilitation.