Offenders come from our communities. They are our children, our friends, our colleagues, our neighbors. The main purpose of a prison sentence is to punish the offender. However, given the financial, social, and emotional effects of imprisonment, a prison sentence can also have punitive consequences for families outside prison.
Prisoners’ families particularly their children are often referred to as the hidden or the innocent victims of crime and incarceration. Offenders are stigmatized for their offense however their families often are too. Families are seen as guilty by association even though they are legally innocent and have not been involved in the offense. The stigma of imprisonment can be very difficult for family members and friends. It can mean that family members are treated negatively by other members of their community, or face negative treatment from colleagues, peers, the media, and even friends and other family members.
May these Family and Friend testimonials help us all understand more deeply how love, support, and hope are crucial to successful journeys back into the community and how creating space for ex-offenders also creates space for ourselves and our communities to heal, to transform, to live lives of compassion, connectedness, and dignity.
A Mother's Testimonial
It is with great difficulty that I write this testimonial and share my son’s story, of witnessing at the age of 3, his father’s suicide and the trauma caused by actually seeing the flash from a 22 firearm and then seeing his dad’s body drop to the ground in our back yard. READ MORE ...