THE CHALLENGE FACING THE OFFENDER AND SOCIETY – The idea of NuLinks began in 2014 from recognition that the minimal support services available to offenders after release were being cut even further. In the words of one BC prison chaplain, released inmates have virtually no post incarceration support, leaving them “completely on their own after release” and “vulnerable to whoever or whatever gets to them first…dealer, gang member, pimp, poverty, mental illness, homelessness” etc..
More significantly we came to realize that this phase of rehabilitation was clearly the most critical factor in determining whether an inmate returning to society would make it or be back in prison within months for repeated (or worse) crimes. Statistics fully reflect this: up to 70% of released offenders are incarcerated again within 18 months.
SPOUSES AND CHILDREN – During a year and a half of involvement in both Canadian and American prisoners lives, what quickly became apparent was the impact of their incarceration on the spouses, children and parents…many of whom we corresponded and even visited with. Anyone can imagine their plight, but the reality is it is probable that the children will enter lives of crime .
THE BOTTOM LINE – The vital stage we have chosen to focus on, called aftercare, and its impact is not sufficiently considered by government and decision makers involved:
Society suffers the probability of perpetuated…usually increased… criminal activity, the growing epidemic of addiction, and untreated mental illness, and of course the growing cost to taxpayers.
Their families suffer the marginalising effects of poverty and the ostracising of society…during and after incarceration…from the public school level right to the workplace, increasing the probability of generational crime and incarceration.
Released inmates suffer from the worsening effects of an addiction, a mental illness, fetal alcohol syndrome, or a continued criminal lifestyle (particularly once they experience the effect of a criminal record on most employer’s and landlords receptivity to them).
Further to this the public money being spent on further physical isolation in facility design, combined with public fear mongering by some politicians, is the precise opposite of what the facts demonstrate and the most effective and sustainable solutions to the problem require.
Worst of all are the statistics for children who have even one parent incarcerated only once: the probability of them becoming involved in criminal activity or addiction is almost inevitable and increases with age and parent recidivism.
These are only some of the observations that inspired the vision for NuLinks, and stoked the passion to make it happen.