11 Years Crime Free, 7 Years On...

It has been over 11 years since I committed a criminal offence and 7 years since I was released after serving nearly 5 years in prison and I still struggle with the discrimination, the obstacles and the heartache that comes with having a criminal record. Unfortunately for me I didn't and don't have the opportunity to have my conviction removed from my record due to the length of time given at my time of sentence, so for me that means a constant stream of judgements and fixed perceptions on a crime I committed as a young offender. Now I'm not saying my crime should of went unpunished but what I am saying is I have already been punished and now want the opportunity to live and be merited on the person I've become and not the crime I committed. Over the years I have seen and still do see many people caught up in a revolving door of prison and release and can honestly say it is easier for a person to stay in a life of crime than leave it behind. Its more complicated than you think. The direct and indirect treatment towards me over the years due to my criminal record has opened my eyes wide to the stigma and issues faced on a daily basis by those wanting to make positive changes and has also tested my patience and strength to the limits and sometimes leaves me questioning many things. My experience has led me to my current position today specialising in the aftermath of crime and spreading awareness on the realities and I will continue too in order to break down barrier and help others. I see many people debating the failings of the criminal justice system and also many people blinded to the fact those failings exist, one thing I will say is there are many failings within the criminal justice system and until those issues are addressed we will continue to see the movements of the systems revolving door which blames the re-offending rates on those committing the crimes with little understanding of circumstances, options or the reality?

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