so some of the discussions that have been taking place lately here surround reentry and what that means. i know that there are a lot of skeptics that don’t believe that there is much hope for those who have fallen to the penal system, and with right do people are skeptical considering the lack of success of those that return home from prison. what i have noticed is that for this push to reintegrate people back into society it is important that we focus on overall wellness, and healthy living.
i have taken a lot of programs, as well as facilitated many, and one them that either comes up or is over looked is the importance of relationships, for whatever they may be, good or bad. i can say with certainty that relationships are at the core of every issue of human existence. how we define them often determines the choices that we make in life. the way that they are defined determines the way that we approach them and people, whether it be the way that we choose spouses, significant others, or crime partners. the way that the offender views relationships have to be dealt with in order for the idea of reentry to be successful. the way that they relate to others has to be discussed. at the core the way that you may view and relate, or don’t relate, to the offender/ex-offender, may be the tipping point for someone as they contemplate what choices to make in life.
i can say that at every major junction there was a relationship that played a part in the decisions that i made. relationships play out today with the choices that i make. yet, the most important relationship that i have had to foster and come to terms with is the relationship i have with myself. often we place all of these principles outside of ourselves and get so caught up in how these things relate to others that we don’t stop to think about the relationship that we have with ourselves. this relationship and the way that it is understood dictates the way that we treat ourselves and others; it also influences the way that we view the world and our place in it. so as it concerns the ex-offender, if there is a sense of disconnect in belonging and existing in the greater society, then there is not a program in this world that is going to work. not until a healthy and productive self-relationship begins to grow. this is not to say be lenient and overlook the wrong that someone may commit but to be honest in dealing with these issues.
what many don’t know is that there is a big disconnection here in the joint with these men. a disconnection from, family, friends, obligation, society and even one another. the common theme when asked about this disconnection is that ” nobody understands me.” they often think that their story is the only one like it. if i feel that no one understands me that means that a healthy and open relationship is not there. at least not one where i can feel that i am being heard and not just listened to. most of these guys don’t feel heard, just listened to. that is why i like the way that the they have chosen to approach reentry here, they are trying to set the needs up to cater to the needs of that person, so one has to hear the needs, no matter how off they may sound.
so at the heart of what it takes to turn this thing around for the better is redefining the way that we as a society, from lawmakers to the local bus driver, see relationships. the disconnections and our definitions of relationships is what got us here and is what is going to get us out of this mess.