Training Convicted Felons is Taboo

The training of convicted felons, in my opinion, is taboo. A common thought is, “It’s their own fault. They are getting what they deserve. They shouldn’t have committed crimes in the first place.” And, ironically, I agree- to a degree. While it is true that we never should have broken the law in the first place, holding that as a reason for no longer assisting this population with opportunities to become successful only exacerbates the criminal activity in our communities. I believe that if a person acknowledges his/her bad decisions, they should have the support in place to assist them in redirecting their lives. Otherwise, the behavior doesn’t stop, it only increases because there is always a younger generation that will be tainted by those that society refuses to assist based on prior bad behavior.

As a nation, do we feel that criminals are doomed to a life of crime and that they cannot be redirected? If so, then how do we expect to reduce crime, but, more importantly, how do we reduce the number of crime victims? There has to be a point that we realize that something has to change. We must make some type of intervention in order to regain control of our communities. In my opinion, the best way to fight crime is to convert criminals into positive, productive, law abiding citizens and train them to be the catalysts of change in their communities.

Society can no longer afford to simply count people out and leave them to fend for themselves. It is not possible to lock every criminal up. And over 90% of those that are incarcerated will be released. So, we need to be prepared to provide opportunities for them to be converted. As a former criminal, I have disdain for individuals that chose to live lives of crime. Instead of merely being angry (as if I have never committed crime), I focus on the intentional redirection of those that have become ingrained in the criminal culture.

Our criminal justice system is not set up to redirect behavior. Instead, it has become a place to house individuals in an effort to give the community a false sense of security. I believe that the powers that be are beginning to understand the need to transform the correctional system, mainly because of the cost. I offer an addition to that thought. The system needs to truly be focused on the correction of bad behavior, as opposed to merely punishment. That way, the funds spent become an investment that can have tangible, positive, lasting results that begin to remove the generational patterns of criminal activity.

I don’t believe people should be considered to have no value. Everyone has value. I, also, believe that we need prisons because there are those that refuse to transform their thinking patterns. But for those that desire a productive life, after realizing the flaws in their thought processes, they should have real opportunities to find value in themselves and see how that value adds to the overall value of our world. MY JOB IS TO DO THAT!

Pastor Brown