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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 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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