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?