Re: "Getting beyond 'lock 'em up,'" editorial, Friday, Oct. 12.
I'm an ex-offender/repeat offender, originally from Ontario.
I have been out of prison for 37 years, and just finished working full-time for the John Howard Society of the Fraser Valley (Abbotsford) under the Life Line government contract out of Ottawa as an inreach worker in Pacific/RTC (regional treatment centre), Matsqui and William Head prisons.
I worked with male inmates only. I had enhanced security clearance from CSC (Correctional Service Canada) so I worked right inside in the cellblock areas with all inmates serving all sentences, from two years through life-to-25 and the dangerous offender.
The editorial was A1, as far as I'm concerned.
Most inmates are going to get out of prison some time, so Canadian citizens should be concerned with what's getting out and back into the community.
What is an inmate's headspace all about and what abilities does he have to function normally and legally in the community? What's changed in him now from what he was all about when he violated the law and went in?
I tell you, as a very recent prison inreach worker, that our prisons are doing very little to prepare the average inmate to function as a law-abiding citizen upon release.
Job skill training and education upgrading has been seriously cut back in the past few years. Inmates are being held longer and longer on their sentences needlessly, simply because crime in Canada is down.
The cost to the taxpayer in keeping an inmate in prison is skyrocketing year after year.
Do not feel sorry for the person who breaks the law and goes to a prison; be concerned about what that person is all about come time he's released.
W. Ford Coquitlam