Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ms. Azalee Turner on How to Change Criminal Behavior

It might depend on the definition of "criminal" behavior. Stealing a loaf of bread might be "criminal" behavior in some circumstances, but not in others. Arresting a person who has committed a crime is the right thing to do, but planting evidence for a conviction is just as "criminal" an act as whatever the person allegedly did. Supposedly each in his own mind justified whatever was done. Christ warned us about harsh judgment that condemns. Sure we are to punish acts against society, but we must also remember that society as a whole commits "criminal" acts against its members. And so it goes around in that vicious circle.

All real change comes from within. And it is aided by desirable and appropriate forces without. If we want people to change in the way they react to the frustrations of life problems, we must find ways to be supportive of conditions that help promote changes. I dare say that most "criminals" have been abused in more ways we imagine and by many persons who had issues of their own. This is not an excuse for their destructive behavior, but it must be considered. So what makes a "criminal" act in such a way? Why do some with similar abusive experiences not resort to these kinds of unsocial acts?

The line between becoming a lifetime criminal and living within the laws of a civilized society may be very thin. Indeed, "criminal" behaviors are found at all levels and in all groups of society. Certain of these acts are just raised "up" at levels above that of other criminal acts. The almost unsolvable problem seems to be able to create a utopia of right behaving mankind. Well, good luck with that one!

But seriously, we should try harder to love people as Jesus taught us to do, to forgive others who do wrong, to reserve judgment unless we are definitely sure about the facts, to try putting ourselves or a loved in in their position, and to stop the insane racism and stereotyping that runs like a disease throughout the world.

We can always ask, "What would Jesus do?" I believe Jesus showed LOVE, (the absence of comdemnation, but with the ingredients of hope and empathy) for sinners. We call them criminals. Also, Jesus' ministry was up close and personal. We can not help anyone change through impersonal long distance communication. People with special problems need special attention that does not judge, just tries to learn how to help. We also desperately need to find ways to have honest communication with the disenfranchised. we need to know what is in their heart, how we can help heal the hurts. It's for the good and benefit of all of us. Thank God for persons who are really working to make a difference in the lives of those who want and seek help to change their life for the good of family and community.

I just realized that most of these comments are directed at us, not at the "criminals." Someone once had the foresight to advise a group that if you want to change a condition, you must change yourself. Things cannot remain the same if you change your behavior. Maybe that is a very big part of the answer. Think about it!

(These thoughts are written for the many persons who are able to be helped, not for the criminally insane or those who of their own freewill choose the lifestyle of criminal behaviors and have no desire to change).

Monday, March 26, 2007

Reco Bembry on How to Change Criminal Behavior

Behavior change ( how )
Values transference (can)

Yes - as we emerge as a society and evolve as human beings we shall also change the nature of criminal behavior through our ability to tolerate or accept certain behaviors previously not accepted or tolerated.

The system responsible for rehabilitation, confinement and change is typically operated by a society of persons not interested in those not like them; namely African American people.

Challenge: Institutional racism...


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sherman Wilkins on How to Change Criminal Behavior

Mr. Williams,

I tried to send this on your Blog with not success. So, here is my response to your question.

I would say yes it is possible to change criminal behavior. The person who exhibits the criminal behavior must first want to change. In the beginning, they may not have the will, the confidence or the knowledge of how to do it, so they must have at least the need or simply put, the desire to change.

Next, they need to know someone believes in them and their ability to change. That someone along with others must help them understand the importance of a support system/network while changing. They then need to be made aware of what change feels like, what to look for and how it works. They must also be taught the skills and given the tools needed to operate in a system that has previously excluded them and/or type caste them. They must understand how to access the process. In other words, empowered/allowed to operate within the new system so they won't feel the need to return to the old one.

They must also be made aware of how integrity, dignity, honor, trust and giving back are linked to a successful non criminal lifestyle. They also need role models both people who turned their lives around like they are trying to do and people who they admire who beat the odds without becoming a criminal. They must be given an opportunity to demonstrate change without thinking that every mistake they make will be their last, while understanding they will be held accountable in a fair, honest and equitable way.

They must also be educated on how to appreciate their own success in small increments leading up to the end goal, so they can appreciate the little successes that lead to the bigger successes.

They must learn to tell themselves I am not a victim, I have been a willing participant not only in my own destruction but the destruction of friends, family and community. In other words own their own behavior.

Last of all, They need to believe in something greater than themselves. Something that will be there for them when all else and everyone fails. Something that will lead them through their personal secrets and darkness. They must believe in the power of the spirit and all that it entails for them.

In summary, the change must come from within and someone needs to plant the seed(s) or cultivate the seed(s) that are already there.

A Case Study of How Life Skills Training Can Change Criminal Behavior

This blog is designed to generate both public and academic classroom discussion on the subject of how to change criminal behavior. This public discussion will inform and document some important insights, opinions and research for my doctoral work at Nova Southeastern University.

The focus of my doctoral work is A Case Study of How Life Skills Training Can Change Criminal Behavior based on the teaching opportunity and volunteer work that I do with prisoners in custody at a local minimum security prison in Washington state. One of the research questions that will be addressed through the dissertation work will be:

How has education and training changed the criminal behavior for inmates at the minimum security unit of the local prison in Washington State?

However, for the purpose of this blog, I would like to explore the more general questions:

How to change criminal behavior? Is it possible to change criminal behavior?

Please post your statement of thoughts, ideas, opinions, feelings, research articles, etc. that you believe would be able to add to this public discussion. Thank you. Have a wonderful day.

Willie Williams
NSU Doctoral Student