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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 8 2013: Frank,great inspiration. You keep saying you have ideas about ways to create change..and yet feel bogged down by the system. So you have our attention...please list your ideas,all of them. Disregard if they are perfect or not...use us as a brainstorming tool, plus others may direct you to where your ideas may take roots. I realize you are still paying for errors in the past,but not to minimize this fact,alot of people are in this state of processing mistakes..and yet it is what could make us motivated to yeild something better for ourselfs and others..time to share your insights,not just vent your frustrations..so what are your ideas,please
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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: Colleen, you state that you had problems with the Dep. of Corrections,but dont say what went wrong exactly,and who ganged up on you to block change. I am not experienced in this field,so without details,it remains a secret still. We do have to start somewhere,so both you and Frank know and I do not. I may offer you my wishes for support,yet there is nothing i can thinlk of because everthing is referenced in sweeping terms. I respect your right to be secretive..or careful..but I cant fix anything I am unable to have strong conceptual connection to.Dont worry,I am patient and maybe I will get it through osmosis over time
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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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