There are many wonderful organisations in the voluntary sector working with young offenders and I genuinely and sincerely applaud all their efforts. Would that government would also support these groups with resources instaed of constantly chopping fundings.
One aspect I would like to see would be these organisations and any organisation working in the CJ field make a dtermined effort to make far more use of ex offenders as a positive resource. I do feel that this particular group of people have a very positive contribution to make. They have the experience but far more they have the respect of young offenders who can relate to them.
I’ve worked as a listener in prison and I know jsut how much more other offenders open up to people who they see as in their own peer group.
Society generally tend to forget that all offenders, whoever they are or whatever they’ve done, are individuals each with an individual story, each with an individual personality and all of who need understanding.
I am not in any way endorsing their offending and there are occasions when the offence is so abhorrent that it is hard to look at the offender as a person but that is what we must do. No one is born to offend, their subsequent offending is the result of differing sets of circumstances which have led them down a certain road, each one down a different road but sadly ending up in the same place.
I am a Christian, and proud of it, but the same applies to any creed, it is only by not judging and approaching the situation with an open mind that we can help offenders and as a consequence help society. We must show true pure Christian love if we are to succeed and make any progress. At the end of the day, who are we as individuals to judge other individuals, better to allow an open mind to be the guiding principle.

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