Criminon: Tell me a little about your life before you were sent to prison
Jason: Basically growing up, I grew up in North London. It was quite tough over there. I was a bit of a rebel at school – I didn’t really attend as I was more sort of out with my mates all the time into all sorts of trouble and I ended up going inside quite a few times. I got a gap in my 30s where I found a job and it was all going well and I was really happy for about 10 years and I ended up losing my job. I got involved with someone at work who wasn’t ‘abiding by the rules’ and I ended up falling out of work and I offended because I couldn’t pay my bills anymore basically and ended up going inside for 3 years. It was a massive shock being out for 10 years and living normally and doing normal things and then all of a sudden BANG back in a prison cell, back in prison, you know it was very hard at first, very hard.
Criminon: What prison courses or rehabilitation programmes had you done prior to Criminon?
Jason: I didn’t do any courses – Criminon was the first lot of courses I started.
Criminon: How did you come across Criminon UK?
Jason: I was in Wormwood Scrubs and there was an inmate who worked in the kitchen and who was part of Criminon. I asked him about the courses he was studying and then he gave me your details and I thought I could benefit from working with you on rehabilitation.
Criminon: What interested you in Criminon particularly?
Jason: Basically it was in bettering myself because when I read Criminon’s magazine it stated that you guys were in support of offenders, it was universal around the world to help guys like us better our lives and I felt because I was on that path not to offend again, this would be ideal for me to take part with Criminon and work with you guys to give me a better life basically.
Criminon: What courses have you done with Criminon UK?
Jason: I’ve done 8 in total.
Criminon: Did any of these make a positive lasting impact on you or change your behavior in a positive way?
Jason: Yes, because I found different areas when I’ve been in situations in the past. Some of these courses they offer different solutions to what I was taking, different methods. If somebody upset me in the past instead of being aggressive back to them, another way of solving it by communication and that’s where the Communication Skills Course helped me to understand the other person’s thinking; why they behaved in that way towards me and to retaliate in a negative way wasn’t sort of the solution to dealing with the problem, so yeah it’s taught me many different ways of bettering my temperament and my thinking before my actions.
Criminon: Tell me a little bit about your life now that you’ve left prison.
Jason: Since I left prison I settled with my supervision officer for 1 year and carried on studying, joined a running club, I’ve started college. Although my work’s been on and off I’m back into employment now – it’s gone from strength to strength because I’m believing more in myself, with all the studying I’ve done, that it is possible to keep away from negative actions that I was taking in the past by offending.
Criminon: In your opinion how likely are you to re-offend?
Jason: From 0-10 it would be 0. I don’t think I will ever offend again. It’s not my way of thought now. I’ll do more courses but I won’t offend. That’s my way of biting back is to do another course and that’s what keeps me on the straight and narrow – just keep educating my mind all the time and breaking down the negative barriers is fantastic. There’s nothing better than having a challenge in yourself.
Criminon: To what extent have the courses you’ve done with Criminon influenced the fact of you not offending?
Jason: I know about the impact because in the past I used to offend and I didn’t think about it and I’d be punished and then it would happen again, but it’s influenced me in such a positive way, the courses now, that I just couldn’t go back to how I was before especially with all the good work I’ve built up from the courses and all the knowledge that I’ve gained from them, that my thinking patterns just won’t allow for me to tiptoe over the edge in that negative way I used to go where I just didn’t think – well I did think but I just wasn’t bothered about the consequences or the impact or whatever but now it’s totally different. There’s belief up there before any of that. If that thought comes in I’ve got so many routes to take so it’s done me proud.