|Boy George on Community Payback|
Prison never rehabilitated him, neither did the probation service or other self-help groups he was referred to. I was heavily involved with attending appointments with my brother and I wasn't impressed. He swept the streets I don't know how many times on community service, stayed in supervised hostels that conducted babyish activities - resulting in him absconding - and was locked up 23 hrs a day in prison.
What my brother did have was a talent. He drew sketches and his art work was admired by a lot of people. He gave prisoners tattoo's - rule breaking I know - but he had talent.
No one, and I mean no one had the brains to embrace his talent. Instead, all the probation service did was enrol him on a FLT (fork lift truck) course like hundreds of other ex offenders had palmed off on them. Talk about pigeon holing ex-offenders! Is factory work mapped out for everyone who has gone to prison? Is that all prisoners are capable of doing? Menial work?
Prisoners are people and they are individuals with different interests, talents and thinking.
My brother, could have opened his own tattoo studio quite easily with his exceptional drawings.
You may ask why we, as a family, didn't support him to do this. The answer is because every time he was released from prison, he took to the drugs within days. When he was in prison, clean and sober, we couldn't get to him to support him as we would have liked. But that's where the supposed rehabilitation should take place isn't it. We lost him every time he came home. If the Government are serious about reform, which personally I do not think they are because it's all game play and numbers, they need to seriously get a grip whilst the offender is in prison. Families of prisoners cannot do much whilst their loved ones are inside. They can support them financially and visit when they can, but apart from that the system makes us powerless. It isn't designed for families supporting their loved ones in prison although they ramble on about how important maintaining family ties is.
All the Government is doing is pulling the wool over our eyes and I will be waiting with much anticipation to see change. Can I just say before I sign off that when my brother was in prison, he was treated very well and so was my family when we went to visit him. I have no gripe with anyone personally, it is the system as a whole that is one big mess and the people running it need a huge reality check. Maybe this is the problem. The people who run the system do not live in mine or your world. They are blinkered and the game does not wash with me. Thank you for listening. God bless you all, from Joanne.