Its hard to imagine what my life would be like if a system was put in place to allow people to change after mistakes made resulting in conviction. Instead I have had to deal with the reality and stigma of carrying such a label in a system set up to fail. I never thought it would be easy, but I didn't expect to feel the discrimination of such a label so regularly and in so many different forms. At times it was soul destroying, knowing that although I wanted to make that change, there were many people in society thinking people like me where incapable. I tried so many times to prove my willingness to work, always putting in 200% and every time a situation happened which alienated me, I told myself "this is just a one off". The problem was, it soon became apparent there where too many "one offs" to just ignore, I had to except the truth.
It would infuriate me when Id hear people relay stereotypical views on ex-offenders and knowing that I was up against so much, just by wanting to do the right thing, I had to spread awareness on the realities in order to make people see. I'm not saying every person committing crime wants to change... but why punish the ones that do? I admit at times I reflected on my life and couldn't see no way out positively and it made me realise first hand just how close I was to that re-offending statistic (scary thought). I know everyone makes there own decisions in life and with that can bring consequences but I have been in situations in the past where it was hard to comprehend such happening.
It still at times isn't easy, but I am passionate about highlighting the truth in order to break down barriers to employment for people in similar situations to myself. I want people to see and believe change is possible and we must except and allow people to move on positively with their lives. As a society we look to statistics, but I want people to have a thought for those individuals behind those statistics? Allow people to move forward. Society? We must embrace that change, otherwise it becomes useless....