Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A brush with the law



Many years ago I had a unique job that dealt with some unique people, many of them with criminal records, social and economic hardship and the school of hard knocks.  It was part of my job to get them headed back on the right path again.  Not always successfully for a variety of reasons.

Because of my work with the criminal justice system and dealing with people's lives I became interesting in pursuing that line of work as a parole officer.  I was accepted into the system, assigned a active parole officer to shadow and then given the curriculum.  Part of which was a long stint of duty at Dartmoor Prison.  Dartmoor is a beautiful part of England and the moor is open, barren  and mysterious.  The prison when seen rising out of the mists is quite the scene.  However  Dartmoor was quite a way from where I lived in Somerset and with two small children and living on my own with no one else to look after them, it would have been impossible to do the necessary training. 

There is part of me that is always interested in what makes a criminal a criminal.  What set of circumstances, what family background, what mental health issues or just bad choices leads them down that path?  And part of me always feels sorry for those who resort to that way of life.

Today, when looking at the local news, there was a story about a woman who'd escaped custody yesterday.  It was her birthday.  Maybe she wanted a chance to enjoy it, but she was soon rounded up and back inside again.   I looked at her image and wondered how she got to where she is now.  What was her story?  This is what prompted the sketch and my reminiscing about my past life.

It reminds me of Karin Jurick's series of 100 Faces done from individuals arrested for various crimes.  I don't think I'll pursue it that far, but a face does say so much, doesn't it?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I so respect your empathy for this lady and how you correlated this to your own life. I find faces absolutely fascinating too. What do/will they tell us about what actually is going on inside.

Gary L. Everest said...

Hi Jeanette,
It's a wonderful sketch, Jeanette. You certainly captured her. (no pun intended)
Her look, so well done by your hand, says it all.
Sincerely,
Gary.

Sue Pownall said...

What an interesting face and story Jeanette.

Eileen bunn said...

Fb can be very annoying at times but is also wonderful for helping you discover new artists and their work. Wonderful drawing and enjoyed the written piece too :)

Jeanette said...

Anonymous, I believe there is empathy in all of us as we always see a little of ourselves in others too. There but for the grace of God...

Hi Gary, thank you. High praise from a skilled portraitist as you are.

Yes, a face full of hurt, defiance and anger isn't it? I'm sure it would be so interesting to paint portraits of people who may never be painted otherwise and capture real life.

Thanks Sue. It was a time of my life that I sometimes wish I had pursued. I'm sure there would have been portraits and more stories behind it.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

karin's paintings are really nice, thank you for linking to them :)

for a moment i thought you we going to write about being arrested o.0

suzanneberry said...

a wonderful sketch jeanette! and a powerful, thought provoking post. so many sad stories, so much pain.

again, amazing drawing and post!

Jeanette said...

Hi Suz, thanks for your thoughts on the post. People and choices always intrigue me and the faces show a bit of their life I find, don't you?

Celeste Bergin said...

Catching up with your blog..so many good posts! This post really intrigues me. I am aware of Karin's project with the mugshots. I love that yours is in graphite. I also have had all this wondering that you describe, about how did a person get to where they are. I wonder it all the time, most everytime I see a homeless person, for example. It is one of the reasons I distance myself from the helping professions, because I feel too sad for the unfortunate, if you know what I mean. Anyway, you've drawn her masterfully. I think I like a mugshot in pencil instead of paint.