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Ownership Life Skills Counseling©

"The Systems Aren't Broke, But Will Break You "

     

 

Written by Jo Ann Rimmer, OLSC

Ownership Life Skills Coach©

    In the 14 years I've been an Ownership Life Skills Coach©, I've encountered hundreds of men and women whose lives have been devastated by getting themselves involved with the Criminal Justice system one way or another. I will not purport to know why one would risk their dignity, freedom, sense of self, family, sanity or careers by choosing to commit crimes. I can tell you this much, the system isn't broken, but it will most definitely change your behavior for the rest of your life. The effects of being incarcerated start long before you even enter the system. What this means is that something went terribly wrong in your way of thinking. The mind experienced something that convinced you that it's okay for you to risk everything worth living for to dance with life on your terms instead of making positive and better choices in your life. I do believe I've heard every excuse in the world for being in jail and once you truly challenge yourself, you will see that it boiled down to making bad choices and having bad ethical and moral systems. This is pretty deep, but it's also selfish removing yourself from society because you can't handle living normal, whatever normal may be. 

          Whenever I've held Ownership Life Skills© classes on the inside (jail), there comes a time when I ask why they are there. Not the legal reason, but why they are sitting in front of me in that class at that very time. And this is when the games begin. The first time they are asked that simple question is the exact same time to take Ownership for their behavior. Or so you would think. So what I get instead is the "usual barrage of excuses." And believe me, I've heard them all. Now mind you, most are repeat offenders, but you have the occasional "first-timers" who for whatever reason decided that life would be better lived in a jail rather than not do something that would get them there in the first place. I can't think of any excuse I've heard to date which would make it okay for someone to commit a crime. Below I list some of the usual excuses and after you read them, you tell me if they make any sense to you. 

  • ‚Äč"I was raised in an abusive family as a child."  . . . So, because you were raised wrong means it's okay to commit crimes or since you were abused you thought it okay to continue abusing yourself as an adult?  In the long run, the only person paying for it is you. Choose again.
  • "I was in an abusive relationship."  . . . When you choose to remain in a relationship that rips your self-respect away from you, is demeaning or you are in it out of fear . . . Choose again.
  • "I was on drugs or drinking."  . . . Oh boy, how many lives have to be destroyed by the same drug you took or by the abuse of alcohol before you realize these things don't just show up, you had to choose the path to them. And if you did it to support your habit, the system will always have a bed for you because 9 outta' 10, you will be back. It's just a matter of time. Choose again.
  • "I needed to support my family."  . . . What family?  The one you sacrificed the minute you left them to fend for themselves financially and emotionally? Choose again.
  • "The system took my children."  . . . I just know you meant to say, "I put my children in a position to be taken away from me. Right? Choose again.
  • "The government brought drugs to my neighborhood."  . . . So not only did they bring them in but you knew and still chose to take them?  Choose again. 
  • "The additives the government puts in foods."  . . . And these "ingredients" made you rob somebody or worse? Choose again.

          This isn't an exhaustive list, but you get the gist of where I'm coming from. The system is bigger than any excuse you can come up with. In all honesty, it isn't set up for you to take these mini-vacations from the same life issues others chose to deal with rather than commit crimes as the solution. Every problem has a solution. Every solution will have a set of consequences. Choosing the consequences first might make you think twice about putting yourself in a position to dance with the system. It 'ain't the Hilton you will be staying at. Your cellies (roommates) aren't exactly there because they are innocent or whom you'd like to forge a lifelong friendship with. And whatever you do, please do not blame other people for your choice to engage in this kind of behavior which often lasts a lifetime. Take a long hard look at why you fear taking Ownership for your behaviors. We all get to wake up every day, make better choices than we did yesterday and be contributing members of society. Just remember to choose the behavior is simply the delivery system for the consequence. In other words, you are choosing the behavior and every behavior has its chosen consequence. Think about it. Can you relate? I certainly hope so. 

 

 

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