Blogging for Transformation
THE TRANSFORMATION OF A CAREER CRIMINAL: IF IT HAPPENED FOR HIM, IT CAN HAPPEN FOR YOU
James, by being drug free and out of prison for three years, already beat the odds. 75% of the ex-incarcerated return to prison nationally within three years. Drug rehab programs have perhaps a 10% success rate as most relapse within one year.
Prison is a non-stop cesspool of screaming, anger, and hate. The men are simply warehoused without little job training, spiritual guidance, or opportunity to improve their characters. The young men I spoke with often told me they didn’t mind being in prison. “I get to be with my homies, play cards and basketball, and watch TV all day. The food's not too bad and we can wear pajamas all day. What’s not to like about prison?”
The men we are locking up typically are not sociopaths or hardened criminals. I once asked an experienced prison guard what percentage of the men needed to be in prison, and he laughed and said “you mean, the real pieces of shit. Oh maybe 5 or 10%. The rest are no different than you and me.
Contrary to the public perception that we are locking up murderers and rapists, we are mostly locking up men like James. They had horrific childhoods, have few practical skills or the mental discipline to function in society, and are often heroin addicts. The rest are veterans with PTSD, the undiagnosed mentally ill, alcoholics, meth addicts, and those who turned to crime as they see no other way to survive. Perhaps 5-10% are innocent, according to those who have looked at the problem including the LA Times, Mother Jones, The Innocent Project and the National Registry of Exonerations.
And we just keep locking them up over and over again. America locks up more of its citizens than any other country in the world, including Communist China. We spend billions of dollars locking up and warehousing men who could easily be productive citizens.
It actually took very little for James to change his life. He meditated at most 30 minutes a day. He completed his GED and took a program that taught social skills, problem solving skills, basic business skills for ordinary citizens such as how to open a checking account and obtain credit and featured doing chores and being responsible for one’s actions. All the stuff he never learned from his teenage bipolar drug addicted mom and absent father.
Most importantly, he developed a sense of self-worth. As he explains it, he opened a channel to his creator. If he did it, most men in prison can do it, given the opportunity. And so can you.
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Physician, Author, Consciousness Researcher, Advocate
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