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  #1  
Old 01-27-2017, 10:52 PM
haskinsj99 haskinsj99 is offline
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Default Is life worth living?

What would you say to someone who has an extensive record and has come to the conclusion that they are worthless and not wanted? That because they are repeat felon, they are society's trash and if they live they're doomed to poverty, welfare, work that they hate doing and just a wasted shell of a life and that going through that for the next many years isn't with it anymore? The consequences just aren't worth it anymore? Should people who are coming out of prisons and felons be given the option of like a cyanide pill or something to end it all if that is what they so choose? Like what Oregon and some places in Europe do.
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Old 01-27-2017, 11:28 PM
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I would say to such a person, "you have nothing to lose by calling 1-800-273-8255 and asking the same questions there".
http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Betcha there are plenty of people here who've been just where that person is.
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Old 01-27-2017, 11:39 PM
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Haskins,
I would tell them that they need to get their ass in some sort of work training or college classes to learn a trade that will compensate them above the minimum wage grind.

I have supervised well over 1500 parolees in my career and some have went on to make more that I did supervising them by going to college or trades schools.

If the person turned their attention to their positive accomplishments instead of the woes me mind set and actually takes steps to better themselves...then the pity me attitude would disappear due to hope and self pride in their accomplishment / progress.

Chris
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Old 01-28-2017, 12:40 AM
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I'd also say find a place where that person can get a depression screening they can afford. If it's not depression, that's one thing. If it is depression, then life will look totally different once the pills start working. Depression isn't feeling sorry for yourself -- it's when the joys that decorate even a sucky life turn into gray cardboard and when willpower disappears.
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Old 01-28-2017, 05:15 AM
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Every life is a life worth living and it sounds like this person has depression and needs support as others have highlighted. There are options to help someone change their lives. Education and re training can create new job opportunities.

As for giving a depressed person a cyanide pill when they exit prison I have never heard of that in Europe in the vast marjority of European countries assisted suicide is a crime.

If you are referring to DIGNITAS in Switzerland , they do not give cyanide pills to depressed ex offenders. They legally assist with suicide for people who are terminally ill and there are very strict regulations regarding who can be referred and who they will help.

You friend needs help with depression so they can move on and make changes.
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Old 01-28-2017, 05:55 AM
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When my son was little, he had a tee shirt that said " I know I'm somebody cause God don't make no junk " I'd tell your friend that every life matters to God, including his. Like others have said, I would suggest that he see a doctor about possible depression or speak with a professional counselor. If he's feeling suicidal, please have him call the suicide hotline # that was given above.
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by klw9653 View Post
When my son was little, he had a tee shirt that said " I know I'm somebody cause God don't make no junk " I'd tell your friend that every life matters to God, including his. Like others have said, I would suggest that he see a doctor about possible depression or speak with a professional counselor. If he's feeling suicidal, please have him call the suicide hotline # that was given above.
Not just "feeling suicidal", either. That number is also for people who are just starting to have ideas about it.
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Old 01-28-2017, 02:31 PM
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After you point the person to someone that can help determine if depression is in play, you might want think about how you can show kindness to that person. You never know what will come of a small act of grace. I don't mean to imply anything of you, but I once found myself thinking that it would be better if the state just "offered" a pill to someone I know who is incarcerated. It was the sign that something was wrong with me.
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Old 01-28-2017, 03:41 PM
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I have dealt with this kind of question with my friend. Thankfully, these kind of days are fewer now.

One more thing I would add that really helps my friend when things seem downward and overwhelming. There are small moments in life that make it worth living. These are particular to what one individual feels brightens their day but they are important nonetheless. Small moments, from doing some volunteer work, to petting a dog / cat, or walking on a beautiful day fill in those times when every thing seems lost. They give you that little bit of energy to keep trying the next day.

The stress of finding educational / training opportunities, as well as long - term unemployment, are no doubt large burdens. But if a felon has a change of perception of the world and makes an effort to pursue a changed life, in the end, some thing good will come. We have to make ourselves available to the good things in life. They do not simply come to us.

People without convictions suffer from these kinds of questions and there is no doubt it is doubly difficult for a felon. I am not saying it is easy but one has to give life a shot with all they have before they can say it is not worth living. Individuals have managed to thrive even in the most terrible places and circumstances so going on one more day is a good thing to attempt. And then repeat.
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Old 01-29-2017, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by chris idoc View Post
I have supervised well over 1500 parolees in my career and some have went on to make more that I did supervising them by going to college or trades schools.
My first PO (bless his heart), the last thing he told me before placing me on unsupervised probation, upon reviewing my final pay stubs that he had me bring in to verify employment: "Son, you're making more money than I am, and I've been at this for 20+ years."

And that was back in 1999, I was 21 years old and I was only making $18/hr. without a college degree, back during the tech boom of the roaring 90's. Made me realize just how underpaid probation/parole officers really were, considering the tough work they have to do, managing all those offenders.
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Old 06-26-2017, 11:42 AM
haskinsj99 haskinsj99 is offline
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Default Is Life Really Worth Living as a Felon?

As someone with an extensive, I mean extensive felony record of property crimes. As someone who, if they did not have a record, could have gone on to law school and done great things with his life, if he is stuck and forced to settle for slave labor and welfare, alone, what is the use in keeping going?

Why do we as a society not allow euthanization for those coming out of prison if we allow it for those who are mentally ill. or physical pain as in several states in this country or in several European nations? Why do we think that castigating felons from society is somehow going to make our society safer when all you are doing is creating an angry, hurting underclass who when desperate to survive will do anything?

Why does society think that people who are coming out of prisons should follow their laws (laws are merely words written on pages, passed by rich politicians with law degrees and fancy suit, in far off fancy capitals, enforced by people with guns who can lock you up and kill you)?

How do you keep going, when you know that you've destroyed your life? And your dreams are flushed down the toilet, what do you have to live for and fight for? Especially when what you did is in the media? People know what you did, and they want nothing to do with you?
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Old 06-26-2017, 12:40 PM
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Default Is Life Really Worth Living as a Felon?

Can you still show love to someone? Can you still help someone in need? Can you still work with your hands and your mind? Can you still see and hear the simple beautiful things?
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Old 06-26-2017, 01:13 PM
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It's because the society is protecting an individual's physical existence, even against the individual's own will (anybody is prevented from committing suicide). It is not also guaranteeing the individual's happiness, physical integrity, quality of life or economic status.

If you had to become an amputee, for example, you would not be permitted to choose euthanasia. Or, being a felon is not even an illness. It is a socio-economic issue akin to getting one's home foreclosed or losing your property and ending up homeless or, if you were very rich, losing that considerable wealth and becoming an ordinary person if not even poor.

Now, things like that may seem like the loss of one's reason to live, the deterioration of one's quality of life below the minimum standard considered acceptable by that person or the end of meaningful life. However, the society does not consider these as acceptable reasons to allow euthanasia or some kind of rational suicide (the assumption is that suicide tends to be irrational and the individual will later regain the will to live).

The society just protects biological life, nothing else, nothing more, and not even in good health and with one's body intact. It does not also ensure a minimum standard of living or the right not to be shunned by other members of society except that sometimes there are some kind of services to deal with problems, such as homeless shelters. It may not always help very much, but it does not allow the affected individuals to simply decide that they don't want to stay alive under such circumstances.
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Old 06-27-2017, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by haskinsj99 View Post
As someone with an extensive, I mean extensive felony record of property crimes. As someone who, if they did not have a record, could have gone on to law school and done great things with his life, if he is stuck and forced to settle for slave labor and welfare, alone, what is the use in keeping going?
I have an equally extensive felony record of property crimes. When I finally got my shit together (excuse the expression), after my 4th incarceration, in three States, over 35 years, I finished a PhD., writing my dissertation on the relationship between lifers and short-timers in prison, while I was working for a major corporation, where I had started as a tech support person and moved up in six years to a senior management team resource person. I volunteer at the State Prison and do workshops for Lifers and others around the country on cognitive and developmental issues. My "credentials" for my job and my various volunteer gigs are not so much my academic background but my time in prison and my record. Sometimes you've gotta have been there to get people to believe that you really can relate to their situations.

I have never felt more valued, or that I was making more of a contribution than at this point in my life - now at 61. I maintain contact with literally dozens of folks still inside, along with Prison Staff of whom I have become fond over the years. We have reunion dinners. Staff and ex-inmates. For some of my Lifer friends, I am their only contact with the outside.

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How do you keep going, when you know that you've destroyed your life? And your dreams are flushed down the toilet, what do you have to live for and fight for? Especially when what you did is in the media? People know what you did, and they want nothing to do with you?
How I keep going is by recognizing that I am needed by many and that my ability to see both the Correctional worldview and the inmate worldview is a unique gift - and absolutely essential to any endeavor to transform the Criminal Justice System in the United States. While I will have occasional moments or remorse for the many people I have hurt in my life, and the fact that I probably could have begun my second career as an over-achiever a little earlier, the fact was that I didn't - and I recognize that all the crappy things I have done, and all the experiences which have been subsequent to that - have made me a unique person, with a really unique worldview.

This process isn't unique to me; I could list off a dozen well-known folks (google Gordon Graham for example) who have used their time in the joint as experience to make an incredible life for themselves. He was a prison escapee, bank robber - who now consults for the FBI and has an international reputation as a Prison Consultant. Chuck Colson, or Robert Downey, Jr., or Martha Stewart, Michael Vick, Tim Allen, Christian Slater, to name just a few - are all felons with high profile criminal histories who somehow manage to get up in the morning and continue to make the world a better place to be. Be that.

At some point, and with great empathy, you have to get over your pity party and decide what you want to do with your life. If you really believe you are a person of no worth or value, this will be hard - but know that it's only a belief, and beliefs, defined as "non-experiential ways of knowing", are made to be changed.
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Old 06-27-2017, 06:57 AM
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When you first joined PTO 2 years ago you were asking similar questions, but you sounded far more optimistic than you do now. You were off parole at age 24, you were enrolled in a Christian university and said that you were thinking about becoming a lawyer.

I don't disagree that succeeding with a felony record in America is difficult. I read where over 100 million residents of the US are ex felons, so lots of them do find ways to obtain jobs/housing, whatever. One PTO member wrote that he became a licensed paralegal after college and found a great job working for a law firm. Other ex felons have also become lawyers after providing their bar associations with proof that they are good people regardless of the mistakes they made.

You need to regain some of your optimism, and continue trying until you succeed. The only way to guarantee failure is to give up.
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Old 06-27-2017, 06:48 PM
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I see two sides to your post. One side is the entirely correct complaint that we make it so hard for people who have been convicted of crimes to rebuild their lives, thus making things worse for everyone for no good reason. That is correct, and it is - well, criminal. And it will only change if people continue to protest and be angry about it, leading to political action.

The other side is your personal situation, and there I agree with others. Life is often unfair. The issue is how we respond. As others have said more eloquently, there are always ways to do something, make a contribution of some kind, leave the world a little better off. Doing the second does not, in my view, mean abandoning the first issue either. In my case, part of my way of addressing point 2 is, like Scott, to work on point 1 by trying to help change policy in criminal justice. But there are many other ways to be a useful and valuable person, including 'just' being a good son/brother/husband/father/friend. Nothing wrong with that as an epitaph in my view.

Good luck! Hope all of this is helpful to you.
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haskinsj99 View Post
As someone with an extensive, I mean extensive felony record of property crimes. As someone who, if they did not have a record, could have gone on to law school and done great things with his life, if he is stuck and forced to settle for slave labor and welfare, alone, what is the use in keeping going?

Why do we as a society not allow euthanization for those coming out of prison if we allow it for those who are mentally ill. or physical pain as in several states in this country or in several European nations? Why do we think that castigating felons from society is somehow going to make our society safer when all you are doing is creating an angry, hurting underclass who when desperate to survive will do anything?

Why does society think that people who are coming out of prisons should follow their laws (laws are merely words written on pages, passed by rich politicians with law degrees and fancy suit, in far off fancy capitals, enforced by people with guns who can lock you up and kill you)?

How do you keep going, when you know that you've destroyed your life? And your dreams are flushed down the toilet, what do you have to live for and fight for? Especially when what you did is in the media? People know what you did, and they want nothing to do with you?
When life keeps closing doors on you, it's tempting to give up & stop knocking. The trick is to find the window if the door won't open. My son has voiced some of the same disheartened sentiments as you. This isn't where either of you pictured yourself but now that you're here, you have no choice but to do something.

Your life may not be destroyed but rather changed course.You can either sit where you are & be unhappy or pick up what you have left & make something of it. So what you did is in the media... well, tomorrow another person's story will be there to replace it. It's up to you to take control & start bombarding the internet with positive posts or results about you. Blog, comment, do YouTube videos, etc. Get your name out there in a positive way & the bad results will start moving back.

If society has turned their back on you, there are advocacy groups that would love your help. Your story could help make changes in a system that is not working. Volunteer at any place that will let you. There is joy in helping others & it will keep you busy in a positive way.

I know one lawyer that has a criminal background. He fought to be allowed to follow his dream & become a lawyer in spite of his criminal history. Today he is an advocate as well. Look up David Windecher & read his story. http://specials.myajc.com/lawless-to-lawyer/
Another one is Josh Horton. He became a lawyer after conviction http://specials.myajc.com/no-matter-what/
Check out Ryan Blair. He is a successful businessman that got started after his conviction. http://www.ryanblair.com/about/

No one says it will be easy. It won't but if you don't try then you'll always wonder what might have been. Hang in there & don't give up. There are good people out there. It just takes work to find them.
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Old 01-30-2018, 11:55 AM
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I have an equally extensive felony record of property crimes. When I finally got my shit together (excuse the expression), after my 4th incarceration, in three States, over 35 years, I finished a PhD., writing my dissertation on the relationship between lifers and short-timers in prison, while I was working for a major corporation, where I had started as a tech support person and moved up in six years to a senior management team resource person. I volunteer at the State Prison and do workshops for Lifers and others around the country on cognitive and developmental issues. My "credentials" for my job and my various volunteer gigs are not so much my academic background but my time in prison and my record. Sometimes you've gotta have been there to get people to believe that you really can relate to their situations.

I have never felt more valued, or that I was making more of a contribution than at this point in my life - now at 61. I maintain contact with literally dozens of folks still inside, along with Prison Staff of whom I have become fond over the years. We have reunion dinners. Staff and ex-inmates. For some of my Lifer friends, I am their only contact with the outside.



How I keep going is by recognizing that I am needed by many and that my ability to see both the Correctional worldview and the inmate worldview is a unique gift - and absolutely essential to any endeavor to transform the Criminal Justice System in the United States. While I will have occasional moments or remorse for the many people I have hurt in my life, and the fact that I probably could have begun my second career as an over-achiever a little earlier, the fact was that I didn't - and I recognize that all the crappy things I have done, and all the experiences which have been subsequent to that - have made me a unique person, with a really unique worldview.

This process isn't unique to me; I could list off a dozen well-known folks (google Gordon Graham for example) who have used their time in the joint as experience to make an incredible life for themselves. He was a prison escapee, bank robber - who now consults for the FBI and has an international reputation as a Prison Consultant. Chuck Colson, or Robert Downey, Jr., or Martha Stewart, Michael Vick, Tim Allen, Christian Slater, to name just a few - are all felons with high profile criminal histories who somehow manage to get up in the morning and continue to make the world a better place to be. Be that.

At some point, and with great empathy, you have to get over your pity party and decide what you want to do with your life. If you really believe you are a person of no worth or value, this will be hard - but know that it's only a belief, and beliefs, defined as "non-experiential ways of knowing", are made to be changed.
How many felons do not have this experience? Would you blame the felon who did not succeed? Is it entirely their fault?

There's an implicit message in your post, outside of the explicit, "if I can do it, so can you". It's that, if a felon does not succeed, then something must be wrong with them, in how they are approaching it.

My ex-wife was a PO and I can tell you that while attitude matters, so too, does the environment in which a person lives. Some areas of a country are more felon-friendly while others would rather a person die for having any type of felony (I've heard several people say that where I live).

How long did it take you to get that tech support position? How much time had passed after your release from prison and/or conviction? Was that length of time instrumental in being able to get that position? Was it your first interview and you were hired, or did you go through a process? What did you look for in a company that would let you know they hired felons? What was your conviction, white collar or drugs? Was your type and length of conviction considered while hiring? In what area of the world were you hired? For example, in Oregon, they have the "Ban the Box" initiative, while in Alaska, it's prominently displayed; how soon did you talk to your employer about your felony conviction?

All these questions would be relevant to somebody who is getting depressed by the lack of job opportunities. I mean, look, a black person became president, but, statistically, what does that represent? Sure, it's possible and gives hope to others, but, realistically, a significant portion of people, regardless of whether they approach life with a positive attitude or not, will not have that experience.

Last edited by sr3131; 01-30-2018 at 11:57 AM..
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Old 01-30-2018, 12:08 PM
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I would say to such a person, "you have nothing to lose by calling 1-800-273-8255 and asking the same questions there".
http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Betcha there are plenty of people here who've been just where that person is.
Services like that come across as pretty generic and script-related. It may help some people, but all this will do for most felons is put them on the radar and bring more stress into their lives. The PO will get more involved; remember, a PO represents the full force of the federal or state government.

I found more help in a trusted friend than I have ever found in agencies, psychologists, RDAP, et al. That's just my experience, other people's mileage may and will vary.

I'm not saying to not use that service, just understand what you'll be getting and the consequences of that action.
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Old 01-30-2018, 12:08 PM
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Sorry I don't buy into the pity party, get up and change your life if it's so bad. Many many people are convicted felons and do well after prison. Attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed is what determines your life.
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Old 01-30-2018, 12:12 PM
sr3131 sr3131 is offline
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Originally Posted by xolady View Post
Sorry I don't buy into the pity party, get up and change your life if it's so bad. Many many people are convicted felons and do well after prison. Attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed is what determines your life.
You are aware that depression is not just an attitude change (although, that can help), but is actually a neurophysiological chemical change which affects attitude.

While I don't know the OP's psychological state, I can tell you that as someone who is depressed and who is actively fighting it, messages like this aren't helpful and, in my case, have made me feel worse. It seems like the OP may be going through a depression and should be approached that way.

Telling a depressed person, "It's your fault, change your attitude, get over it and move on" can be damaging to that person.
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  #22  
Old 01-30-2018, 01:23 PM
xolady xolady is offline
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Originally Posted by sr3131 View Post
You are aware that depression is not just an attitude change (although, that can help), but is actually a neurophysiological chemical change which affects attitude.

While I don't know the OP's psychological state, I can tell you that as someone who is depressed and who is actively fighting it, messages like this aren't helpful and, in my case, have made me feel worse. It seems like the OP may be going through a depression and should be approached that way.

Telling a depressed person, "It's your fault, change your attitude, get over it and move on" can be damaging to that person.
Yes I'm well aware of what neurological chemical changes can and do cause depression. But the OP was sounding more like a pity party, jmo. Plenty of places for free Mental Health Medications, but you still have to get up and get the help. Unless you attempt to hurt yourself and then it's forced help which usually doesn't work. I know all to well about depression and really feelings of despair get you nowhere fast. I have been on several meds for depression over the years and mainly what's helped was getting off my pity pot!!! So hence my post all the pills or therapy in the world won't help if you don't want help. By the way I never said it's your fault, people can't control their body chemistry. But you can control what you do about it!

Last edited by xolady; 01-30-2018 at 01:25 PM..
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