Grantham Journal column: ‘Where’s the second chance?’ asks Peter Clawson
A chance encounter on Grantham railway station recently increased my suspicions that current rehabilitation policies on crime and punishment are nothing more than a blatant cock-and-bull story.
My informant, a self-styled frequent offender just out of jail, told me that whatever happens inside, on release some prisoners are simply thrown on to the streets to fend for themselves.
Even for someone genuinely wanting to go straight, he contended, this tends to lead them to an inevitable return to a life of crime.
His comments came after claiming to have contacted all the authorities and agencies socally supposed to offer help, but being rebuffed by all of them to the point of not even being given necessary forms to fill in for obtaining advice and assistance.
So there he was, free again, but already back in the gutter, penniless, homeless and faced with ending up back in the place he had just left.
Dont get me wrong. I’m not the sort of person to feel unwarranted sympathy for someone who has caused local people the long-running misery he claimed to have done. He was the first to recognise that fact.
Not once did he ask me for money or anything other than to listen and tell his story if there was one to tell.
What was of more concern to me was that this didn’t seem to be just an isolated case, but part of a much wider conspiracy covering cuts, unrecorded crime and manipulated statistics similar to those relating to employment figures.
Even taking all crimes into account, shouldn’t there be somebody able to help a repentant offender back into the mainstream of the community if that is where they want to be?
As my informant said himself, everyone deserves another chance, especially if they have paid the price for their actions.
That’s what we keep being told, isn’t it?