Stop Judging Former Criminals
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Politics and Activism

Stop Judging Former Criminals

Why is there this widespread belief that people can't change?

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Stop Judging Former Criminals
aclu-wa.org

I’m not sure why people keep pushing the belief that criminals can’t change, and once they are on the “wrong path” they will never change. If you tell anyone that X person got out jail, rather than encouragement, the most prominent response is something along the lines of “they will be back soon.” As if a life of crime is impossible to escape. The same applies to people who abused drugs. They assume it will not last long and they go back. Then if they do make an incredible recovery they treat it like an isolated case, like no one else can do that. This is also why many people will not hire those with a criminal history. This common belief of “once a criminal, always a criminal” is absurd and puts a barrier between former felons and people who have not even shop lifted. But why the divide? Is the former felon not still a citizen? Do they not have the right to still be treated like humans?

This is the kind of mindset that makes me upset because of the people in my life that surround me. A lot of my family grew up in low income areas, or in Layman’s terms the hood. They were surrounded by many bad things and chose the life on the streets. They made a mistake, and that was exactly what it was a mistake. They abused drugs and spent years in state prisons. But they are still my family and I look at them now and they are all changed. They have houses, and families. But the world will look at their past and only know them as criminals who do no good. I’ve seen change and I’ve seen people make the biggest of changes and I don’t think it’s fair for them to be scared to disclose their past in fear of judgment. It’s not only unfair but it’s sad that they have to keep that part of their life hidden.

Even worse is the general belief that people who went through these things shouldn’t have government benefits such as Welfare, Social Security, and EBT. People constantly argue that these people are just no good and do not deserve this. In a world where they already have hard times getting jobs, they are expected to have no benefits. Let’s say someone was in jail for a decade and decided to change their life, they got out, rectified the bad choices they made, became a new person essentially and started raising their children? This isn’t too farfetched either as most people will think, because that’s exactly what happened to my father. Yet because of his past people will still judge him extensively and still continue to argue that people don’t change, others will argue he shouldn’t be able to be aided by the government, and some will blindly do both. That is unfair and I think people need to start looking at people differently instead of assuming the worst in them. People can change and people can get better.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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