When Success Is Punitive

LifeLine to Success modifies the behavior of people that have been convicted of felonious crimes. We equip them with the tools to reenter society as positive, productive citizens. We develop strong work ethic. We build value in the individuals. We give them a purpose. WE MAKE CRIME UNATTRACTIVE…

Success to us is the redirection of criminal behavior and commitment to negative behavior into a direction that creates safer, more pleasant neighborhoods. And we have been very successful. We successfully reprogram our members. But there is an unintended consequence that never fails. The society and support system doesn’t know how to deal with the new person.

Recently, we have had members to lose relationships and living quarters because the support system doesn’t fully understand the benefit of the transformation. It eventually boils down to money. Many of our members were very effective criminals and had a lot of money and stuff, all from ill-gotten gains. While the support system didn’t necessarily approve of the method of the gathering of stuff, they didn’t refuse to accept the benefits. So, when we are successful at redirecting the behavior and making crime unattractive, that costs real money!

I believe that the support systems care for our members. But, they don’t know how to accept the fact that in the real world, working doesn’t pay like crime. I believe the support system wants our members to remain free and not return to prison, but it’s difficult to reconcile that with the loss of revenue or things. Crime is attractive because the benefits outweigh the risk. The greater the risk, the greater the return. It is a fast paced life and it is addictive. LifeLine’s responsibility is to make all of that unattractive and create a new person that values others, is respectful to authority and refuses to continue a life of crime.

It breaks my heart every time a member loses his/her support system because they don’t want to live a life of crime any longer. Keep in mind that leaving the life of crime removes the benefits of criminal activity. So, while the support systems want our members to become new individuals, they don’t want to lose the benefits of the criminal activity. And, in my opinion, they would rather the member GO BACK to crime to bring in the stuff. In theory, they want a new person. But the reality of the cost flies in the face of that theory and the reality of the loss sets in. 

I’m extremely frustrated because we, LifeLine, don’t have the resources to serve as the total support system until our members are able to readjust and thrive. I am so wounded right now because I feel like it is my fault. And I am helpless… Success shouldn’t cost this much.

Pastor Brown