The challenges facing prisoners and ex-prisoners are immense. Unfortunately, I know. Been there, done that … or, doing that, because in whatever form, there is always a 'reminder'. I 'survived' being inside; I have 'coped' with the pressure, inside and out; and in many ways, I have 'conquered' what life has to offer on the outside.
So, how do people rise above the many negatives? A damn good question.
The answer. Much more difficult than the question.
Many people make wonderful contributions via research, evidence and an enlightened … some may even say, commonsense … approach. You are hearing some, and seeing many, at this conference.
I am not an academic in that sense. But I bring the reality of people's lives into focus; the trauma that many, including family, have to live through. The reality of prison cells, the reality of prison yards, the reality of poor education, the reality of not being with your family, the reality of poor life skills and the reality of getting out … to what???
The positive versus the negative, hope versus hopelessness, support versus ignorance, giving someone a second chance to contribute and simply lead a useful life instead of being shut out.
The most important word, for me, in the past 19 years? CARE.
I would like you to listen to what I have to say. You may agree, disagree or be sceptical … but please, think!
Biography: I was a primary school teacher as well as the most experienced umpire in world cricket. In 1999, I was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for indecent assault. I am a member of JusTas and by contributing to its aims, I endeavour to make a difference in the world.