Business Development, Ministry Of Justice UK

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Ex offenders into employment? (sex offenders and serious violence excuded)

Providing ex offenders with opportunities into work makes sense.It takes them off the cycle of crime,reduces the number of victims and enhances the economy.In the UK reoffending alone cost £11 Billion in 2010 and to ignore this would be insane.By challenging lifestyles,putting in place interventions and sending offenders out into society as workers,surely makes more sense than simply warehousing them and sending them out the same as when they came in to prison.

  • Jan 7 2014: I am a 47 year old man living in the UK who has worked in the Engineering Industry for nearly 30 years. Over the last decade my wife and I have found ourselves struggling to pay ever increasing debts whist trying to provide for our three children. In 2010 some very bad things happened to our family and through depression I did the worst possible thing and turned to drink.

    One evening my 15 year old step-daughter came to me in tears saying that she felt nobody loved her. I tried to console her, telling her that she was wrong and she was loved very much. I had been drinking and we kissed. Much to my shame and utter disgust with myself, things turned sexual, although we did not have sex. I awoke the next day feeling utterly ashamed with myself. I talked to her and told her that what had happened was wrong. I asked her to forgive me only for her to tell me that as far as she was concerned there was nothing to forgive as she loved me and knew that I would never do anything to hurt her.

    A few weeks later she told a friend in confidence who reported it to the police. I was arrested and questioned over the incident to which I immediately admitted everything. In court I pled guilty and was given a custodial sentence of four and a half years.

    I was released early last year after completing every goal given by the prison authorities and probation and have been identified as being at the lowest end of the scale when it comes to the risk of reoffending.

    I have lost my home, my family, my job and my friends. I am ashamed of the way I conducted myself and have taken all the steps possible to never again repeat my crime.

    I am truly sorry for not just commiting the crime but for the hurt caused to my step-daughter (Who I love dearly) and indeed the rest of my family.

    I am now unable to find a job and have to rely on the welfare state. I want to work.

    I thought going to prison was the punishment for a crime but by your header can I assume that the MOJ sees things differently?
  • Dec 15 2013: Hi Colleen

    Unfortunately we tend to try to be everything to everybody,which in theory is right.However I am starting a charity which is going to work one to one with ex offenders placing them with corporates who care and want it to work for that individual.We will introduce the CEO or similar to the chosen offender and work with them to move them via employment into mainstream society.
    • Dec 16 2013: That is such a great plan Steve!! People that have done the wrong thing need help. They often cannot change themselves, whether it is drinking or crime.
      Down I read that the US had the highest rate (percentage?) of people in prison. I wonder if that could exist because in other countries, the worse conditions in a prison may be a strong incentive for people to not have to go there. Is this a percentage that just regards prisons? Because in many other countries there is the death sentence..
      One of the problems with the North American prisons might be that for many it means a better life than at 'home,' if there is one.

      I think the best incentive for someone to change is the idea that they perform a use. That what they do is appreciated, and are paid for as well. It may not even be liked by the ex-con but making a difference is the best incentive. After a while it should change one's attitude and character.

      Wishing you the very best in your efforts!!
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      Jan 6 2014: Hi Steve!
      I was just scanning through the comments and discovered your comment to me!

      Your plan sounds like a great idea....hope it goes well. One on one with people who really care is an important element....good luck!
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    Dec 11 2013: Why are you excluding sex offenders? Their rate if recidivism is far below that of other types of offenders. (Please do a web search for 'sex offender recidivism and you'll find several reliable sources saying so, including the U.S Department of Justice.) Should they not also be given opportunities to make a living?
    • Dec 11 2013: Why include drug dealers or pimps? (Pimping is not a "sex offense" in most jurisdictions.)
      • Dec 14 2013: and here we go with the typical ... lets not include this or that. OR for those people...

        The only irony I see with that argument of crime population dissection, is that will be the ones left, that have to choice, and many will not be like Mandela after release, they will look for vengeance, or at least have a forced upon them propensity to do it again.

        And if they get caught so what - at least they get 3 hot and a cot.
        • Dec 15 2013: Obviously, you have decided to pretend to not get the point of my post. Someone was whining about who was excluded, so I brought up "why INclude" some other group to point out how arbitrary such things would be. As for "3 hot and a cot", if the crime rate becomes high enough, Sheriff Arpaio's method will become more popular, for good or for ill.
      • Dec 15 2013: Fact is some people have in the us committed crimes exactly to get 3 hots and a cot, others for medical treatment.
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      Dec 14 2013: You are correct Lawren, that the recidivism rate for the more violent crimes is less, according to statistics. I suggest that the reason may be because the more serious crimes (manslaughter, murder, sex offences, etc.), generally have much longer sentences, which keep the offender in jail longer, so they do not have as many opportunities to re-offend.

      Some of the less serious offences (drug possession, or petty theft for examples) have a shorter incarceration, so those offenders are in and out of jail all the time.

      I believe that everyone should be given an opportunity to change his/her life if there is a genuine intent and effort toward that goal demonstrated by the offender.
  • Dec 15 2013: I don't know why you have "serious violence excluded", do you think that a person can't be redeemed from that? Also don't you think that failure to provide ex offenders with the same freedoms from discrimination might actually be a cause "serious violence" in the future?

    As for "sex offenders" that covers such a litany of things nowadays, it would seem very unfair to literally 'tar and feather' everyone with the same brush.
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    Dec 15 2013: Of course they should get employment, if they don't get that what are their chances of "adjusting to society"?

    I also feel that employers should take into account that many former convicts might be the best worker there is, they're often out to prove themselves and will most likely be very loyal to the company for the rest of their life if treated good, since the company gave them a chance that few others would.

    Now, I wouldn't employ a bank robber in a bank or a child rapist in a kindergarten class. But as long as their job isn't closely tied to their previous crime I don't see any problems with it...
    • Dec 15 2013: Jimmy, your 1/2 way there... you see if they don't get chances to go straight, it changes your comment from "them adjusting to society" to "society adjusting to them".

      Only question is which does society want?
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        Dec 15 2013: Very valid point Steven, I completely see what you mean.
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        Dec 15 2013: Good question Steven! What does society want? Continuing to incarcerate offenders at the cost of $65,000 - $85,000 per person, per year? Or would society prefer to spend the money on programs which might help give the offenders skills, which they could use to be productive members of our communities?

        My perception is that many members of our society do not want to look at the facts, and therefore cannot make informed choices regarding this issue. People tend to think that they are incarcerated....problem solved!!! That perception does not suggest well informed.
      • Dec 15 2013: Steven,

        Could you expand on "society adjusting to them"?
    • Dec 15 2013: Spot on Jimmy.
      It's not rocket science yet many miss the fact that without a salary it is back to crime.
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        Dec 15 2013: In my perception Steve, that is one of the very BEST arguments for encouraging beneficial programs and education within correctional facilities/prisons. If they do not have any skills when they are released, the probability that they will do what they know best is HUGE!
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    Dec 15 2013: Who the H*@l wants to be a victim in the first place?

    The sad truth is that legal systems every where are, primarily, re-active to crime, not pro-active. This means a crime must occur before the system will respond, as countless victims of assault and spousal abuse will attest to. Here in Canada less than 5% of our policing budgets go towards crime prevention, and is usually in the form of media advertising. But tens of billions are poured into reacting to crime after the fact.

    Why is it we wait for the theft, the assault, the rape, the murder before we respond? Why do we have a system that requires victims before it responds and is indifferent to the effect the crime has on the victim's friends and family members, perhaps affected for years afterwards. Or worse, leave victims who have no family or friends nearby to endure the experience on their own. If they served the experience that is.

    Yet there is a wealth of research that has been available for years.showing that being pro=active in terms of addressing poverty, funding youth programs, investing in community based resources and a host of other societal supports reap huge dividends beyond mere cost savings for families, communities and the state as well. In Canada during the 70 and 80's a number of programs showed improved rates of reducing recidivism year after year. Then a tough on crime party took office and in a few years it had all disappeared into the 'cost saving' ledger. Meanwhile the costs of all the other so-called Justice system agencies went up and up and up and still do.

    But such things do not appeal to the "tough on crime" crowd or the "that's my tax money being wasted" but who never seem to consider the huge tax bill they already pay for only being reactive. Too bad for the victims I guess.
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      Dec 15 2013: This is an excellent point William....the sad truth is that our systems are re-active rather than pro-active. As a volunteer at a women/children's shelter, a family center, dept. of corrections, and an employee for a short time with SRS (oversees children in state custody), I saw the same families falling through the cracks of these systems over and over again for generations. The same women and children, from the same families were showing up at the shelter and family from the same families were ending up in jail....and children from many of the same families were ending up in state custody. As you say William....a crime must occur before the system responds, and even then, the system does not respond in a way that helps break the cycle.

      SOMEWHERE along the way, the cycles need to be broken, and it does not appear that as a society, we are very successful with that task.

      We used to have more work programs here as well, and when the facilities started to be privatized, most of those programs disappeared. One valuable program that has not disappeared is a gardening program in one of the facilities, which supplies vegetables to that facility as well as several other non profit organizations. In one of the sessions I co-facilitated, 3 of the guys came in directly from the garden, and those guys were more open to change....more willing to listen and accept new ideas. They came in from the sun and fresh air, where they were doing physical labor that was productive and beneficial for themselves, as well as for the whole, and in my perception, we need more of that if we ever want to change the paradigm.
  • Dec 14 2013: Hello I could point you to....

    But I'll copy/paste the relevant material.

    Social programs are doomed to fail, no matter how much money you throw at them, no matter how much job training you give, or how much you care.

    Here is a simple plan, that will reduce recidivism rate much more than anything else...

    It should be readily apparent to anyone, if you, on every employment form you ask, 'have you ever committed a felony / or in the uk - ever been charged with a criminal offense" - and when you check 'yes' you don't get the job. It would seem only common sense that the only "JOB" your going to get - is being a criminal. We have gamed the system to keep criminals - criminals.

    "You do the crime, you do the time" then you're a "free man" is NOT true, we've made it a LIFETIME sentence.

    If an ex-criminal put's in the effort to 'go straight', learns, adapts, but then gets told those efforts are for naught. Not exactly a "Great Motivator" is it?. Nor CRB check's, for self employed who try to stand on their own. Again you punishing someone after the fact, after the debt has been paid.

    Is it any surprise that the US (and the UK is moving that way) has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

    As long as society decides to do that - we'll keep on marginalizing, ignoring and alienating a vast section of the population. You can clearly see the cost of that every day on the news, with mass shootings, people going postal, suicides (the #1 killer in America), crime and violence in general.

    While everyone says..."Criminals need to change". It's clearly apparent, to me at least, for real progress to happen that will make for a better society... "We need to change too".

    Personally I think it should be illegal to ask/esquire/allow 3d party companies - to check if has a criminal record.

    Does anyone even remember the phrase.... "You've paid you debt to society"?
    (google it, see what it shows you.)
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      Dec 14 2013: I'm an employer and if I get 2 applications that show equal qualifications but one is an ex con and the other has no criminal record, I'd choose the one without a criminal record.
      Perhaps some convicts really are reformed when coming out of jail, but not all are. As an employer, if I can avoid it, why would I run the risk hiring an ex con ?
      I understand that integrating ex criminals into society is a big challenge but one also has to see the side of the employer.
      • Dec 15 2013: Point is you WOULDN'T get two applications. Recruitment companies, will only send you one.
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          Dec 16 2013: Well, I wouldn't appreciate that at all. I like multiple choices and a recruitment company that sends me only one would be fired.
          The job of a recruitment company is to pre select but not to eliminate choices.
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    Dec 14 2013: You got to be kidding. If there already existed plenty of legitimate ways of obtaining a comfortable living there would be far less crime.

    Drug dealers are local entrepreneurs providing a product that governments constantly point out is worth billions in sales. They set their own hours and working conditions and operate tax free, all the while shaking their heads at those who take minimum wage subsistence living service jobs. There would be far less incidences of theft, shoplifting and break and enter if there were not so many eager customers - especially backdoor businesses - buying the merchandise no questions asked. .

    The endless incidents of political and public official corruption and criminality apparently operating from a standard of "its only wrong if you get caught" has long ago set the morality and ethical bar pretty low and begs the question: why shouldn't their citizenry exploit similar opportunities in their own lives?

    Besides, locking up 'those people/, namely undesirables - the poor, the mentally ill and whatever colour or race is unpopular at the moment - appeases a very politically important segment of the population who religiously vote for 'tough on crime' politicians. People who draw comfort from the numbers being locked up, and ignore the circumstances leading to the imprisonment.
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      Dec 14 2013: Good points William,
      Another fact, is that correctional facilities/prisons are being's a big business! What is the incentive to rehabilitate offenders? Those who are in the prison business would be cutting into their profits if some offenders stopped offending!
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        Dec 14 2013: Hi Colleen,

        The incentive is societal and ethical gains. There are no incentives for the prisons or those owning them, and we should not feel bad for them if they run out business.

        I'm sure that you're aware that you (USA) have the biggest prison population in the world with roughly 25% of all global prisoners and you only have 4% of the global population. Here's some numbers and a map.

        As you say it's big business and it's a business that has boomed since the 1970s with an increase almost five fold...
        It's unethical and very damaging to society.

        Most of it is because the war on drugs, but there are also other factors like corruption where the court and prisons cooperate to fill the prisons, sentencing people that shouldn't be sentenced...

        Like the "Kids for cash scandal"
        But there are scandals like that almost every month that I read about...

        Main point: The wardens are the crooks and they should be the ones in prison.

        And private prisons shouldn't be allowed since it fuels corruption.
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          Dec 14 2013: Hi Jimmy!
          You know that I do not feel bad for the owners/administrators of privatized prison systems......don't you? I was simply making a point that TO THEM there is no incentive to rehabilitate.

          Yes, unfortunately I know that our incarcerated population in the U.S. is one of the highest in the world.....I'm not proud of that my friend.

          I agree that often times the administrators are cut from the same mold as the offenders, and I also agree that privatizing prison systems fuels abuse of the system. I learned that up close and personal while volunteering with the dept. of corrections for about 6 years. I had more challenges with the administration than with the offenders. Fortunately, several of us testified before our legislators regarding the abuses in the system, and the 4 top administrators were removed from their positions.
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          Dec 14 2013: To be clear, the U.S. does not have "one" of the highest incarceration rates. It holds the title for highest incarceration of its citizens.
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        Dec 14 2013: Oh, I know Colleen :)

        The reading wasn't really for you since I already expected you to be aware, it's for any other wishing to check some facts and be astounded.

        I'm saddened and glad to hear of your prison story...

        Just one tiny semantics thing that I'd like to correct you on.

        "...incarcerated population in the U.S. is one of the highest in the world..."
        I'd like to put great emphasis that it is THE highest, by far, in comparison to any other country.
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          Dec 14 2013: OK....OK.....OK William and Jimmy! The U.S. has the highest rates! I was hoping perhaps we had improved since I last looked at statistics! That is horrible!
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        Dec 14 2013: I'm sorry to be the harbinger of bad news Colleen. I don't know when you last checked but it hasn't improved, it's deteriorated... and continue to do so...

        It's costing you about $60 billion annually, and that's just the the hard cash for the prisons, the societal costs go beyond imagination...

        It is horrible indeed, that is why we're pointing it out that hard, we need to make you understand the gravity of the situation.

        Here's some depressing reading for you...
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          Dec 14 2013: I was aware of the information is embarrassing:>(

          I volunteered my time for about six years, working with offenders, and stated on this thread that the challenges were more with the corrupt administrators. What exactly is it that you need to make me understand Jimmy? And what would you like me to do about it?
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        Dec 14 2013: You are not to blame for this Colleen, so you should not be embarrassed... I didn't mean to do that... :(

        I wanted you to understand what I stated before, that you're on top, not "among" the top.

        I think the problem is systemic, cleaning up a few corrupt people here and there won't do much good in the long run.
        I believe that you have some influential power over there, maybe not direct but indirectly. I think so because you have that here and because of your stories of your past.

        So, when the topic arises from now and then as I'm sure it does at dinner conversations you can point out that the US is the worst, spreading the info might have some effect in the long run... I'd like you to do that since people listen to you.
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          Dec 14 2013: I do not feel embarrassed for myself Jimmy....I said...."it is embarrassing"....that the U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world.

          I understand the statistics, and apparently it is important for you to clarify "among the top" and "the top". Like I said previously.....OK.....I know that. I like ideas worth spreading Jimmy, and I am not afraid to spread the ideas and all relevant information:>)

          Now that we are clear with which country has the highest number of incarcerated people my friend, the topic here is "Ex offenders into employment?"

          What do you think/feel about the topic question?
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        Dec 15 2013: Coleen, thank you for having been one of the lights found in the appalling darkness of prison life. I would take your point about the administrators of U.S. prisons being cut from the same cloth as their prisoners and suggest that the administrators are far worse criminals because their interests are simply profit and possibly self-righteousness while the majority of inmates are simply victims of bad laws and arrogant legislators.
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          Dec 15 2013: Thank you William,
          I agree that some administrators do not have the best intent. Whether or not the laws are considered good or bad, they are the same laws that govern all of us.

          Most of the victimization started before inmates were abused children. Many of them were programmed with certain behaviors, and many of the behaviors are used for protective mechanisms.

          The question here is, are they employable. I believe most of them are, when they are introduced to new behaviors and more productive patterns. That is what the "cognitive self change" sessions I co-facilitated were all about. It is what the "real justice" program is about....a new ideas....more beneficial practices and behaviors, which can be, and have been learned by some.
  • Jan 7 2014: Hi Fred

    No the MOJ don't view things differently.The point I make refers to a charity I am setting up,so sorry for any confusion.

    The MOJ will work with ALL offenders to help them rehabilitate and resettle...

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    Dec 18 2013: Hi Steve,

    I'd like to ask about "sex offenders and serious violence excluded"...

    What's your reason for this? Don't they also get to atone for their crimes and get to be a part of society again?

    Edit: Anyone else willing to give their opinion on this is naturally also welcome to comment.

    EDIT 2: It's now been 13 days since I asked this question and I would be really glad if someone cared to answer this question.
  • Dec 18 2013: I am for job training but there needs to be also training on what is expected from a responsible employee. i.e. being on time, respect for others, etc. Sometimes I think that is harder to break old habits. It is interesting that in the US (not sure about the UK) but after age 45 the recidivism drops quite a bit..
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    Dec 15 2013: Working in both law enforcement and in correctional facilities I can assure you that prisons are not funded to rehabilitate ... at best they are a warehouse. They do not come out the same as they went in ... prison is a school for new and illegal skills.

    I can also tell you that the long arm of the prison gangs control while in prison and after release. Even if you wanted to go straight a day will come when you will be required to do something for the gang ... the consequences are dire for refusals.

    Many of you talk about drugs not being a real crime ... it is ... there are laws that say so. The offenders all were aware that their actions were against existing laws and also were aware of the consequences of their actions. They rolled the dice and lost .... illegal aliens know they are sneaking into the US in violation of existing laws .... they know the consequences ... they still do it.

    Yep the US has a high rate of imprisonment ... that MAY have something to do with a high rate of people committing crimes.

    They have no respect for laws, society, and do not fear consequences .... do you really thing they care about your company policies.

    Just a thought.

    I talk the talk ... because I have walked the walk ... and have earned the right.
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      Dec 15 2013: then you have my condolences Robert. I can only imagine your own experiences with the level of incompetence, corruption and simple arrogance that permeates our institutions despite all the hard working honest ones that hold the agencies together. I bet you have some nifty stories of celebrities, the connected and the wealthy who thumb their noses at laws and who have 'assistants' who carry the drugs and lawyers who take care of the 'legal problems'. Btw, do you know why so few of "those" people end up in jail?
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        Dec 15 2013: William, I have not made a study of it ... so my opinion would be ... affluenza.

        Judges are either elected or appointed. If they are appointed then we see high profile .. media intense ... decisions that come down in favor of the party what brung them to office. ... politics being the major consideration .... that is why appointments are such a big deal .... stack the court in your favor to achieve your parties goals. Worked for Obamacare.

        As for elected judges .... PT Barnum once said ... I don't care what you say about me ... but spell my name right. In Poli-sci one of the primary rules for running for office is name recognition. Few people recall all of the scandals of the Clinton administration, the books from people who worked with or for them, the issues that came with them from Arkansas, or that he was impeached. The public memory is very convenient. They both have baggage.

        The expenses of housing a celeb are budget drainers ... both in jail and in prison. Because of their wealth there are options not afforded the rest of us .... The 16 year old who killed four and left two in critical condition while three time over the drunk limit and on drugs will go into a rehab facility for $250,000 for six months ... doing yoga and horseback riding. His lawyers are probably
        working on a appeal for the harsh punishment.

        Martha Stewart got a slap on the wrist ... as a ex-con she has lost little .... On the other hand Paula Dean has lost everything but did not violate the law ... but was reported to have used racial slurs years ago ....

        So here is my guess .... politics .... media ..... election concerns .... options to the wealthy .... high octane lawyers .... and the good ole boy connections .... are all part of the problems.

        For a laugh .... look up the arrest records of Congress .... they are not in jail either ... they are the elite.

        Thanks for the reply. Bob.
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    Dec 14 2013: Hi Steve,
    I just returned from a visit to San Francisco, where I was introduced to a GREAT project called the Delancey Project, or Delancey Street Foundation. The reason I got to learn about it and meet some of the guys was because my son, his family and I went to one of the lots where they sell the Christmas trees that they plant, maintain and sell every year, and we went back home with a lovely Christmas tree:>)

    This program has been operating for 40 years, and embraces all kinds of projects and skills, including restaurants, construction, etc.,which help the past offenders learn and use skills.

    I totally helps take them out of the cycle of crime, reduces victims and the number of people incarcerated, saves taxpayer dollars, and helps the offenders become contributing members of our society. I would love to see these kinds of programs in the correction facilities/prisons.
    • Dec 14 2013: And that city Colleen is probably one of the most progressive in the world - which is why I am not surprised it's happening there at all.

      Maybe because San Francisco sits in the shadow of San Quintin, and Alcatraz, and maybe just maybe with prisons like those in plain sight, it always reminds one, that, there but for the grace of God go I. And so they do something about it, and help people not go back there, which is better for society as a whole.

      I think it was Mayor Willie Brown, who also realized too, that a criminal is a burden on the local government income, where as a rehabilitated one, an employed one, actually contributes tax dollars to the city of SFO.
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        Dec 14 2013: That program is happening in several cities in the U.S. Steven....check out the link:>)
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    Dec 14 2013: I think with all Government policies the problem is they are blanket policies and a blunt sword, and always cause winners and losers in the grey areas at the peripheral edges, often to the exclusion of common sense. Ex-offenders need a much more individually tailored process to take into account individual circumstance's. In my opinion all serious crimes are not equal and that it follows that the perpetrators and their potential are not equal as well. But that approach requires serious investment and manpower. If I were a business owner, I certainly wouldn't consider employing an ex-offender in preference to a young enthusiastic university graduate for instance, on the word of a probation officer alone. But in the spirit of innovation, which incidentally I think is the actual purpose of TED, maybe an insurance programme, funded by the Government, to provide financial cover for ex-offenders to businesses to cover the liability and risk of re-offending, would go a long way to convince businesses that the risk to reward ratio is worth considering.
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    Dec 12 2013: Is there any law in the UK that prohibits companies from hiring an ex offender ?
    If not, then it's up to the market. Companies usually select the candidate that best fits a job offering.
    Whether a company accepts an ex-con or not will mostly depend on the job offered, the offense committed and the offer of candidates for the particular job.
    • Dec 14 2013: Harald read my comment above about the UK and employment. I'd also add to that the 'employer' often never gets to see "those applicants" as they are filtered out by the recruitment agencies.
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    Dec 11 2013: right, although you'd have to give them more than employment skills, you'd have to give them more morality, more skills at getting along with people? How do you do that?
    • Dec 14 2013: How do you do that - with people that are classified 'white collar criminals', a large growth area.
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        Dec 14 2013: don't understand the reply. White collar criminals would teach the awareness of morality and skills at getting along with others to blue collar criminals?
        • Dec 15 2013: Your assumption was, viz my reply, that they dont have employment, social skills, white collar do.
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        Dec 15 2013: well, apparently there is some gap in their social skills, or something flawed with their sense of morality, that causes them to commit crime? For some people, just going to prison once would cause them not to re-offend. But for the ones who re-offend despite going to prison, how do you fix whatever causes them to commit crime?
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          Dec 15 2013: We cannot "fix" anyone Greg. We can offer some different ideas, and encourage participation in a lifestyle that is more beneficial to offenders and the whole of society. Ultimately, people have to make choices for themselves, and as we said before, we/they are all different, and although there are similarities with groups of people, we/they are all functioning based on different information.

          One observation I had, is that most of the guys incarcerated had low self esteem, and that is sometimes difficult to perceive in them because they often come off as very strong, dominant, intimidating people, which is often a protective mechanism.

          I agree with one comment Bob made....prison is a place where offenders learn more about crime and criminal activities.
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      Dec 14 2013: Actually Greg, some offenders get along with people very well if you don't mess with them! Some of them are very charming and intelligent. That being said, getting along with people and having good communication skills is important for all of us.

      A common practice I observed with offenders, was the inability to sift through information to make good choices. Many times, they were exhibiting a "knee jerk" reaction without thinking about the consequences.

      One of the first questions I often asked offenders was....what were you thinking or feeling when you committed the crime? The answer was often......"nothing.....I just did it". We also know that there ARE premeditated crimes that are very well planned and orchestrated. The "knee jerk" crimes were often assault, which was attached to other crimes like B&E, which were also often drug related. (About 95% of those incarcerated are drug and/or alcohol dependent).

      All I'm saying, is that the issues can be complex, and it is not simply a matter of teaching all offenders one thing or another.....they are people.....all different....just like all of us.
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        Dec 15 2013: Well, a difficulty might be that in society we sometimes have to deal with people messing with us and have to have the skills to do so in a noncriminal way? I would think many offenders lack some of those skills, not that even we nonoffenders always have them perfectly. But wouldn't people have to acquire those skills to stay out of trouble?

        I have read psychologists saying to be wary of charming people, although I didn't read why. I suppose they can mislead you with charm? But there must be a healthy way to be charming?

        I'm sure the issues are complex. But you agree that it's not enough to just give a person employment skills? You agree the other issues are morality and relationship skills? How would you teach those, particularly given that every person is different?
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          Dec 15 2013: I agree Greg, that as members of a society, we often deal with people messing with us, and it helps to have appropriate skills to deal with those situations. When one has grown up in an environment where you simply hit someone who messes with you, or maybe worse, that is the behavior that is learned....that is how some people "settle" the issue. Those who are abusive to others have often been abused, and they have not learned other methods of conflict resolution.

          People can be genuinely charming, and some folks can put on the "charming" persona to get what they want.

          Yes, it is sometimes complex because we cannot simply "give" people new ideas or behaviors. They need to be ready to accept and apply the new ideas, and you probably know how difficult change is for anyone....right?

          One of the best ways to teach anything, is to model the behavior. We are putting offenders in correctional facilities/prisons where they are seeing some of the same behaviors from people (administrators) who are getting away with the same criminal behaviors, and are on the "good" side of the law!

          On the first day I volunteered in a facility, I learned that one of the correctional officers brought drugs into the facility, sold them to an offender, who then sold them to other inmates. This whole business had been going on for a long time, and the administrators knew about it. I went directly to the top guy and talked with him about it. His response was....well that CO has been with us a long time, and he does his job....bla....bla.....bla!!! Apparently, that person was getting a kick back as well! As I mentioned in another comment on this thread, after an investigation and testimony before our legislative body, the 4 top administrators in that prison were relieved of their jobs.

          The councilors in the facility knew about the situation for a long time and could not speak up because they were afraid to lose their jobs. As a volunteer, I had nothing to lose.
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        Dec 15 2013: well, I appreciate the opportunity to talk to someone who has actually been in the prisons. I would say I know more than the average person how the police work on the outside, but not so much about inside prison. For a while I had a neighbor who had done seven years behind second-degree murder, one thing we talked about was him liking milk, at lunch he would grab six or seven little cartons!

        Well, it's certainly a good idea to "model" good behavior, Colleen, or, to just behave well. Is it sufficient? We do know stories of decent parents whose children turn out to be bad people. I was watching an interview with Ted Bundy (Ted different than TED), and he was stressing that his parents were good, loving parents, yet he ended up killing many. So modeling might not be sufficient?

        I don't agree that it's necessarily hard to change, but maybe for prisoners yes as the fact that they committed crimes in spite of the consequences shows that they're rather committed to crime-doing?

        Now you were trying to help inmates transition to the outside? Were there any rehabilitative efforts worked into that mission? Are there rehabilitation professionals working in prisons, or do you know, Colleen? What do they do to try to rehabilitate people?
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          Dec 15 2013: Greg,
          Modeling behaviors is only one piece of the puzzle, and I brought that up because offenders are punished for behaviors (selling and using drugs for example), while some correctional officers and administrators are supplying drugs to the incarcerated inmates!

          You're right Greg....there are some people brought up in a seemingly good environment who choose a life of crime. As we said is often a complex issue to wade through, because everyone is different.

          I don't believe that people are committed to a life of crime. Being the optimist that I am, and with the observations I have, I believe that when people are shown something different, there is a possibility for change.

          There were councilors in the facilities I was involved with, and there are laws that require certain programs, like AA for example. However, I did not see a wholehearted effort on the part of the administration to encourage participation.

          We used to have work programs, including painting crews (painted the outside of government and non profit buildings), furniture building and repair crews, mechanics shop, etc., Since the privatization of the facilities, those programs have disappeared.
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        Dec 16 2013: well, corruption among the prison staff is very defeating. But those people were removed from their jobs you said so that's encouraging?

        What sort of counselors in the facilities you were involved with?

        What exactly is "privatization" of the facilities? What is the connection, if any, to the disappearance of programs?

        Above you were saying we can't "fix" people, Colleen. I guess my thought is that we have two groups of people. One is us who have managed not to offend, and the other is the group of people who have offended. Would one presume that if the offenders knew how not to offend, they would have refrained from offending? Would one presume that we who haven't offended know the techniques of not offending? So that possibly we could share these techniques with the offenders and guide them to employing them, too? The recidivism rate, we are told, is high, one wonders if there is a way to reduce it?
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          Dec 19 2013: You are right Greg....a few people have been removed from their jobs because of corruption with the system, and that is encouraging on one level. However, that is only one facility, and only part of the overall picture.

          The counselors in the facilities I was involved with, facilitated programs, and offered counseling services to inmates who wanted that service.

          Privatization simply means that the facilities are owned and operated by private companies. Prior to that, all jails, prisons and correctional facilities were owned and operated by municipalities, states, or federal government.

          The connection with privatization and the disappearance of programs, is that programs cost money, and the private entities who now own and operate the facilities would prefer to make money and spend as little as's about the bottom line for them financially.

          I believe those to be good presumptions Greg...." if the offenders knew how not to offend, they would have refrained from offending.... that we who haven't offended know the techniques of not offending".

          And yes.... we can share some information which might support offenders in a more beneficial life experience. That was one goal with the "cognitive self change" and other sessions I co-facilitated. Encouraging the offenders to think and feel for themselves, rather than blindly following old patterns, which include crime. In my perception, the only way to reduce the recidivism rate, is to offer offenders new tools.
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        Dec 20 2013: now I'm asking myself about a point you made that all criminals are different. That seems true, so how do you design rehabilitation that will speak to all their different needs?

        Those of us who don't commit crimes, what causes us not to commit them? Part of it is fear of going to prison, isn't it? Once I took a tour of a police station, and I said to the officer leading the tour that part of what kept me from committing crimes was fear of going to jail, and he said it was the same for him. But then I asked my neighbor who had done seven years behind 2nd degree murder if he valued his freedom, and he said, no, he did not care about his freedom. That might be a good question to ask any offender, do you value your freedom?
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          Dec 23 2013: All people are different Greg, in some respects.....are we not? Although we share some similarities, we are different as well. I think recognizing that helps us in all educational programs and relationships.

          It appears that most people want to be accepted in our society, so we create programs that accept the person, and reject the criminal behaviors. That is why I believe educational programs in which the offenders can learn skills to support themselves when released is so important.

          Those of us who don't commit crimes have been given, accept, and use different "tools" to navigate the life adventure. Maybe the fear of going to jail influences a person enough so they do not commit a crime. Perhaps it is the values and worldview a person has been taught. Perhaps it is the consciousness or lack of.....the reasons may vary.

          I observed that the most common response to my question.....what were you thinking or feeling when you committed the crime was......I wasn't thinking or feeling anything.

          The guys I dealt with seemed to have learned a certain lifestyle/worldview, and often continued to repeat those patterns and behaviors which supported that lifestyle. This is something that we all do. When our thoughts, feelings, perceptions, perspectives, ideas and opinions change, our behaviors and worldview change as well, because humans generally behave in a way that supports their underlying thoughts and feelings about themselves. We generally project out into the world what we have in our heart and mind.....make any sense?
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        Dec 24 2013: Well, I guess a question might be why the mere unpleasantness of being incarcerated isn't enough to change thoughts, feelings, perceptions, perspectives, ideas, and opinions? Or the difficulties of having a permanent stain on your record?
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          Dec 25 2013: I sincerely wish I, or someone else could answer that question Greg!

          It reminds me of a kid (19) who was incarcerated....seemed like a really good kid, but got mixed up with using and dealing drugs.

          For awhile, the facilities in this state were overcrowded, so we were sending some inmates down south to another state, and from everything we heard, it was a much more challenging experience for them....very unpleasant! This kid, unfortunately happened to be one of the ones chosen to do his time in another state prison.

          When he came back, he said that was SO bad, he would NEVER offend again. I was sincerely hoping he was serious.....and perhaps he was serious when he said it. Unfortunately, 3 months later, he was back in again for some of the same offences.

          We just do not know what will work for each individual.
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          Dec 31 2013: Greg, By the time that they are old enough to be in prison their record is ruined. They do not care about a "stain" for most it is a resume on their criminal career.

          The only unpleasantness for most is at the hands of others and gangs. We use the term institutionalized ... Many have spent so much time in jails, Juvy, and prison that the challenge is the outside not the inside. Their "family" becomes the gang.

          If you look at the list of 100 worst life events ... most of these people have experienced a great deal of them. Life sucks ... they resort to extremes for survival ... you got it ... i want it ... it is about me ... everything else is rubbish ... the gang took me in ... they care.

          I am sure Colleen could tell many stories as could I. But you have to be there and look into the eyes of a stone cold killer to understand. I have see guys laugh at a murder trial and cry when they found out the dog was hurt during the gun fight.

          I cannot explain either. It is like war ... I can look at another vet and we nod in respect ... because we have been there and done that. What Colleen and I have experienced is not text books or what if ... it is real life in a completely different environment.

          If there was easy answers we would not have the problem that exists today. We don't.
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        Dec 30 2013: well, I suppose one possibility is that he didn't think he would get caught? Did you ever talk to inmates about whether they had thought they would get caught for their crimes?
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          Dec 30 2013: I mentioned in a previous comment Greg, that we did talk about that, and many of the offenders did not think about consequences at the time of the offence.

          Colleen Steen
          6 days ago
          "I observed that the most common response to my question.....what were you thinking or feeling when you committed the crime was......I wasn't thinking or feeling anything."

          That, in my perception, is part of the challenge....they have not developed a thinking/feeling process in themselves that might support different choices. That is what the "cognitive self change" sessions were about.....developing a process in themselves, which might support different choices.

          If they are not making good choices for themselves, it is less likely that they would be employable. If they can demonstrate that they have the ability to make good choices, they are usually more employable.
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        Dec 30 2013: sorry, colleen, I would not have made that connection. But when you say they weren't thinking anything, are you using the word thinking to mean thinking and feeling? In other words, they were not thinking anything, or feeling anything, when they crimed? Or did you talk about feeling?
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          Dec 31 2013: Greg,
          In my perception, thinking (logic/reason/mind activity) is one process, and feeling (compassion/empathy/intuition/instinct) is another, which can happen at the same time....or not....we talked about both.
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        Dec 31 2013: so when you say they weren't thinking anything when they committed a crime, you're saying they weren't thinking or feeling anything? It seems hard to believe as it seems like the body has to feel or think something, like biologically if you're alive you have to feel or think something, you can't turn everything off?
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          Dec 31 2013: Greg,
          My statement from the previous post is...
          "I observed that the most common response to my question.....what were you thinking or feeling when you committed the crime was......I wasn't thinking or feeling anything."

          That was a common response from offenders.

          My interpretation, as I believe I stated, is that they were not thinking about, or considering consequences for themselves, or to the victim.
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        Dec 31 2013: oh, I'm sorry colleen, I had remembered it wrong, I thought you had said that they said they weren't thinking anything, but I see you had also mentioned feeling. But it is a bit surprising that none of yours mentioned considering consequences, because I have read about serial killers who expected to get caught during their run, but killed anyway?
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          Dec 31 2013: Greg,
          Did you read Robert's comment which he just posted in this thread? He made some good points. It seems like you are trying to make some kind of sense, and answer questions with your worldview, and those who are incarcerated do not usually share the same worldview as those who are not incarcerated.

          There are all kinds of stories about criminals Greg, and it's important to try to remember that we do not all function with the same worldview or lifestyle. We cannot answer questions using our perceived logic, when the questions we are trying to answer stem from a totally different perceived logic, and this is one thing that Robert brings out in his comment...."real life in a completely different environment."
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        Jan 2 2014: well, how successful were your programs, Colleen, did anyone you worked with actually rehabilitate, any success stories? Any ideas on what would be more successful?

        I wonder if it would help to only serve milk as the food in the prisons, to go to my all-milk diet, what effect might that have?
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          Jan 2 2014: I am not sure how successful the programs were as an end result Greg. The guys gave us feedback during the sessions, and we do not know how much information they retained and used after that.

          My task was to offer them different ideas regarding how to make different choices. It was totally up to them to embrace the information and use it.....or not.

          In some of the feedback we got during the sessions, it appeared that some of them were assimilating and using the information. One guy actually called me after he was released to thank me for the program, saying that it had helped him. That was the only direct feedback I got after the sessions were finished.

          My guess is that your milk diet would not be well received in prisons. Many of the guys I interacted with were body builders, and there does not seem to be the nutrients in milk which help build muscle mass.
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        Jan 3 2014: well, that's too bad, it seems like it would be useful to gather info on how successful any particular rehabilitation strategy is. But apparently you felt good about what you were doing?

        As far as I know, what builds muscle mass is the lifting the weights, not the food you eat. When it comes to food you want something that adequately nourishes you in terms of calories and nutrients, and tastes good, all of which milk does. I think an all-milk diet encourages clearer thinking as the fluidity of it doesn't clog the brain and body as much as solid food.

        This isn't a proof of what I'm saying, just an interesting tidbit, I do recall having a couple of Muslim neighbors who said that in the Koran milk is considered a very holy food.
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          Jan 3 2014: Greg,
          There probably IS information "out there" somewhere. My task was not to gather statistics regarding the end was only to offer some ideas. Yes, I felt good about what I was doing.

          I am aware of your thoughts and feelings about the milk diet Greg, and I'm sure you are aware of my thoughts and feelings about it. I don't see any point in continually going over the same information.
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        Jan 4 2014: colleen, I don't believe you've ever said how you got involved in that program, how did you, or what made you want to be involved? How many hours a week did you work it? Did the program have a name, was it standardized across multiple prisons?

        I would think we could say that we who have never been in prison still need help making good choices so the things we learn in thinking about prison programs also apply to people not in prison?

        Yeah, it's really not just my thoughts and feelings about milk, it's actually having experienced both diets, the solid-varied-food diet, and the milk one. From direct experience I can tell you the latter is better, but it might be hard for a person to realize that until they experienced it themselves. Whether it would work in prisons I don't know, at this point the government wouldn't introduce it into prisons because they assert that it is missing certain nutrients. I acknowledge that it is missing certain nutrients, and yet my experience is that it's still healthier, I have experienced no harm from the missing nutrients, but large benefit from the diet's good points, and I believe others would have the same experience. I am corresponding with extremely high officials in the federal Health and Human Services Department to try to get the diet officially approved as a safe, healthy diet for human beings.
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          Jan 4 2014: Greg,
          I volunteered in a shelter for women and children for a couple years and realized that we can educate, encourage and support women and children when they are abused, and ultimately it would be helpful for men to be part of the solution as well, because they are often the abusers.

          I saw a notice looking for people to serve on a Reparative Board (modeled after the 'Real Justice" program), I volunteered, was trained and served on that board, which was through the probation & parole dept. of the dept. of corrections. Other opportunities were offered to me, I accepted the challenges, and it sort of mushroomed into other programs. Some of the programs were used in other states as well as in Vermont. My hours varied depending on what programs I worked on for about 6 years.

          Usually people are incarcerated because they do not make useful choices. Some of us were given the tools to make good choices, and because of the environment in which inmates were usually brought up, they were missing the information that is needed to navigate the life experience in a beneficial way.

          A milk diet IS missing some nutrients that are needed for the human body Greg. I remind you again, about how many times you have mentioned being tired, and low on energy.
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        Jan 5 2014: colleen, I've heard of people volunteering in a women's shelter, when you volunteer in a women's shelter what do you actually do practically speaking?

        That was good thinking to then go for the men. So basically the reason you went to work in the prisons was to work with men who had abused women, but in fact when you worked in the prisons you got men who had committed all kinds of crimes?

        Well, what I was saying about choices is that for many of, we don't commit crimes where we end up in prison but we still might not think that soundly in every situation, we still might make bad choices but not as severely bad as the ones criminals do. In fact, I would say everybody in the world at times thinks poorly and makes bad choices. Thus thinking about how one helps criminals make better choices might also help we non-criminals make better choices ourselves?

        Yeah, what sometimes happens to me on TED, Colleen, is I see a conversation or comment I want to reply to, and, although I can say something worthwhile without researching, I know my reply would be a stronger reply if I would do a little research first. For example, I may be asserting something in my reply and the research might back up what I'm saying. But at that moment I may not feel like doing the research but I do feel like communicating with the person, just for the pleasure of communicating. So I might not do the research at that moment but give a reply and "cover up" not doing the research by saying I'm tired. But honestly, I have much more energy on the milk diet, I don't think it's so much that milk gives one energy, but that milk is the least "clogging" food for the body and so the body's natural energy can emerge. It's the solid-varied-food diet that reduces my energy. But as I say, it might be hard for a person who hasn't experienced the diet, such as yourself, to understand this just through imagining it.
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          Jan 5 2014: Volunteers do lots of different tasks in a shelter Grag. It depends on what skills a person might have. Some of my friends do electrical work when needed, plumbing, painting inside and outside, cooking meals, transporting the residents of the shelter for appointments, picking up donations of food and clothing to bring to the shelter, etc. I worked on the hotline, and did whatever else needed to be done in between.

          Yes, some of the incarcerated people I interacted with had all kinds of crimes on their resume.

          Yes, of course, we all make choices that are less useful at times, and yes, we may all benefit to some degree from cognitive self change workshops, counseling, etc. Mostly, it's about introspection.....know thyself.

          I agree's always nice to know a little something about the topic in a conversation in which we are participating. I realize that you do not like to do research sometimes Greg. You've said that you prefer actually conversing with people rather than looking at links, which might provide information.

          I know how you feel about the milk diet, and I think you know how I feel about the milk diet Greg. With all due respect, your insistence about it is tiring for me, and it is usually off topic.
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        Jan 5 2014: well, that was kind of you to give your time to a shelter that way. What actually motivated you to start working there?

        Well, at times research can be fun, too, and in fact can involve talking to people as well. Have you done much research in your life, Colleen, what have you researched and why?

        Again, it's not just how I feel about the milk diet, it's based on having directly experienced the two diets, the solid-varied-food diet and the milk diet. It's something that really might be hard to understand just through one's thoughts or feelings, one might have to experience the diet to understand what I'm talking about. I brought it up because I was thinking it would be good for inmates to live on milk in a prison, which I think you'd agree is on-topic. In my last comment I mentioned it because you apparently have the impression that I am often tired because of my milk diet, and I want to be crystal-clear that that is not the case, that in fact I have much more energy and am less tired because of the milk diet, versus the solid-varied-food one, which does tire me out.
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          Jan 6 2014: Well Greg, maybe it was kind of me, and I also learned quite a lot with the experience. My father was abusive and violent, so I learned more about that, while healing in myself, and hopefully helping to support others on a similar journey.

          One of my life philosophies is...if I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem. When I notice something in the life experience in which I can give time and effort, I do so. It is my way of learning, growing, developing and evolving as an individual, while contributing to the whole.

          Have I done much research in my life and what have I researched?

          I have lived, learned, experienced and researched every single thing that I talk and write about.

          "I know how you feel about the milk diet, and I think you know how I feel about the milk diet Greg. With all due respect, your insistence about it is tiring for me, and it is usually off topic
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        Jan 7 2014: I'm sorry to hear that your father was abusive and violent. Is it something you've totally healed from? Are you saying that working in the shelter helped you heal, how did it do that?

        Fine philosophy. Sometimes I also think that what appears to be a problem can represent an opportunity.

        Beautiful point about research. Probably I was wondering if there is anything you've researched at real length, the way a university student or professor does?

        I'm afraid I don't understand why you didn't respond to my specific points about the milk diet, Colleen. I believe it's almost always on topic when I bring it up. If it's off-topic I usually acknowledge that and state why I'm bringing it up anyway. For example, I'm quite interested in why certain Asian people don't drink much milk, and, when I get into a conversation with an Asian person about something else, I'll talk about that topic, but then I'll say by the way, I know this is off-topic, but do you have any idea why people in China, or Japan, or Korea, don't drink much milk. I'm only asking because you live in one of those countries and might know. This seems reasonable to me as TED is a great opportunity for me to talk to intelligent people in Asian countries who I might not talk to otherwise. As for how you and I feel about the diet, it seems like you're trying to represent our feelings as meaning our viewpoints of the diet are equal, you feel one way, I feel the other. But you're ignoring a really important point: I've experienced both diets, and you haven't, you've only experienced one. Thus what I have to say is much more informed than what you have to say. I'll say again, Colleen, that before I experienced the milk diet, I would not have grasped how different it is. When I was eating a little bit of meat, little bit of bread, some vegetables, some milk, if someone had said living on milk is really different from the diet you're following now.....
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          Jan 9 2014: Greg,
          Volunteering in the shelter, the dept. of corrections, and SRS (organization that oversees kids in state custody), and lots of other experiences, helped me to heal, because I learned more about the dynamics of violence and abuse. We have an opportunity to continue healing on many different levels right up until we take our last breath.

          Yes Greg, as I said, I've researched quite a few things throughout my life adventure, including, and not limited to "at real length, the way a university student or professor does", AND....more importantly, by EXPERIENCING.....using the information I researched and learned by applying the information in the life experiences.

          In my perception, your insistence regarding the milk diet, is tiring, which I've told you several times, and it is not on topic.
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        Jan 7 2014: I would have said, what's the difference, food is food. It's only by having done both that I see the really large difference between the two, and how much better the milk diet is. If you want to reject the diet, you can, but please don't think that your feelings about the diet are giving you an accurate picture of how it is.
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        Jan 9 2014: I'm afraid I don't know what you mean by "the dynamics" of violence and abuse?

        So what have you researched at real length?

        Well, the difficulty on the milk diet, Colleen, is that you keep trying to have the last word by saying that you feel the milk diet is bad because it lacks certain nutrients. But I keep saying to you that I acknowledge that it is a bit deficient in a few nutrients, but I have never seen a harm from those lacks in me, all I've seen are enormous benefits from the good points of the diet, and I believe if other people followed the diet they would have the same experience. And you never respond to that. Isn't it wrong to reject a diet because it is slightly deficient in a few nutrients when there's no harm from the lack of nutrients, but the diet does so many more good things than the more average diet? As I say, I don't think at this point they would use the diet in prisons actually for the same reasons you say, that it is a bit deficient in a few recommended nutrients. But the thing is, I don't think the nutrition establishment has ever actually delved into a diet that is almost all skim milk because almost noone has ever tried this diet and come forward, like I am doing, to say it's great, please delve into it. I hope I will succeed in getting the nutrition/medical establishment to investigate this diet, and they will conclude that it is a great diet, and they may try it in prisons. I certainly think it is on-topic for me to mention it here, as the conversation is about prisons?

        By the way, I notice you replied to a comment I made on another conversation by Diann? But you replied on the "third level," so I can't answer back? I really didn't follow your reasoning there, if you really want to say someone is critical there, it seems to me Diann is more critical than I am, she is the one who is criticizing the whole world and saying the world is not caring and nurturing enough, I am actually defending the world?
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        Jan 11 2014: Colleen, I see this conversation is closing in three hours, so I may not get to these links. Thanks much for sharing your different experiences and thoughts with me. What I find myself wondering is what is healing, just off the bat it doesn't seem to me that understanding something bad that happened to you is the same as healing from the bad experience?
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          Jan 11 2014: You can still connect with the links after the conversation has closed Greg.....if you want to. And, you can also google "relationship dynamics", "dynamics of relationships", etc.

          In my perception and experience, understanding is very much a part of healing, learning and growing with an experience.
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        Jan 11 2014: i wonder if a person could heal without understanding?
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          Jan 11 2014: Greg,
          My personal experience, is that the more information and understanding I have about anything, makes it easier and more enjoyable to navigate the life adventure:>)
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    Dec 11 2013: Such programs have been popular enough to have a track record. I remember one from the 70s that was called Supported Work, which was heavily evaluated at the time by Mathematica Policy Research and Manpower Dempnstration Research Corporation (MDRC).

    There was another sponsored by the Vera Institute of Justice in New York.

    I expect you will find many thoroughly evaluated prototypes.
    • Dec 14 2013: Fritzie, the 70s was a LONG time ago :)

      Even over the last 10 years things have dramatically changed, at least in the UK, with respect to private companies running criminal checks, often by criminals!!, civilians manning the desks at police stations etc etc etc
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        Dec 14 2013: The interesting thing about that period in history is how carefully evaluated these social programs were.

        As a second program of that era, the idea of guaranteed basic income is now considered such a radical idea, but, in fact, Republican President Richard Nixon, I believe, supported the also thoroughly evaluated Negative Income Tax experiment.
        • Dec 15 2013: Well all I can say is those days are gone, the prison system, the inmates, the criminal checks, and about everything else has been privatized, it's all about the $ now. Notice in the original question the $ amount. Pretty much it's screw humanity, screw people, how i can make a dollar on it.
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        Dec 15 2013: I do know that when I was involved in this area long ago, it was abundantly clear that ex-offenders and ex-addicts could thrive in a work environment with normal supervision and ancillary services.

        Some work environments are probably a better fit than others. We had many involved in commercial painting, but I cannot remember what else.