Former prisoners need help to re-enter society.
Do criminals ever change?
Certainly, some people believe that “once a criminal, always a criminal” and that it’s not easy to change one’s character, habit, or beliefs. Changing oneself isn’t an easy process: it takes days, weeks months, years, even a decade. And living together in society with ex-offenders is somewhat risky if all precautions are not taken and if we are not well-prepared to welcome them. As humans, we are constantly changing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I believe everyone likes to change their character from bad to good.
We should change our attitude towards ex-prisoners and give them the chance to re-integrate into society. We should treat cons as fairly as other people.
In 2018/2019, the national incarceration rate in Canada was 127 adults per 100,000 which is a very low rate, according to the Canadian Centre for Justice. Canada has a low incarceration rate compared to other countries like the United States. Ex-prisoners may feel rejected, and they consequently, can have a lack of self-confidence. They may be ashamed of their past identity, thinking that people are pointing fingers at them. Because of that stigma, and the feeling that they are different from others, they tend to get into trouble again. Ex-offenders are mentally traumatized, and they need to have a support group that may help them feel well again! They have a stigma that makes them live with low self-esteem, and they need guidance. They need to have rehabilitation centers to perfect and upgrade their skills and the encouragement of family members to help them gain the trust of their faith community.
Some people feel that as a society, we are not responsible for how individuals feel about themselves. If an ex-con feels guilt or shame, that’s their problem, not ours. On the contrary, I believe we should help them feel good about themselves and have better self-esteem. We should place others before ourselves and consider their existence more important than our own.
Ex-offenders should be given a second chance:
Not every ex-prisoner turns back to his old life. According to a study of recidivism in Canada, the recidivism rate is roughly 35 percent for men and 20 percent for women. (https://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/research/err-19-02-en.shtml)
Most prisoners are unlikely to re-offend once they get out of prison. They are anxious to avoid returning to prison once they have been freed. Ex-offenders have made mistakes, but they should not continue to feel guilty for them, and we should give them a chance. Ex-prisoners face discrimination and prejudice when they should feel at peace and be treated fairly. After serving their sentence, finding employment is one of the major problems ex-inmates face. We know that not every employee is willing to hire an ex-inmate.
It can be argued that ex-offenders should not have rights the same as other people, but I think we should prepare them for their re-entry into society; physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. There is nothing to fear if they receive a good re-integration into society.
Many ex-offenders are willing to put together their life again and decide to change and accept the help that is given by society and the government for their rehabilitation. I don’t think there should be an obstacle for them in any field or career. Ex-offenders should be able to work any job as other people, travel the world, and live a normal life.
Adult and youth correctional statistics in Canada, 2018/2019.