DRUGS, ALCOHOL, AND HANDCUFFS
While on my way to my weekly reporting, I just happened to get in a conversation with an probation officer in the parking lot, where he asked how much longer I had on house arrest.
Officer: How much time you got left on your thing?
Me: (without hesitation) 44 days, and about 16 hours.
Officer: (grinning) Wow. You know it like that, huh? Well, try not to party too hard, otherwise you’re right back where you started.
Me: (nervously grinning) Don’t worry. I’ll be good.
He then proceeded to tell me a recent story where a gentleman was all too eager to celebrate his newfound freedom and culminated with him ending in cuffs at nights end. And this gentleman will probably be gone for a very long, long time.
I stood there intrigued by this story that involved an intoxicated individual driving recklessly, beautiful women in the car, lots of available drugs to enjoy, and a midnight run to grab some dessert. It was terrifying, yet so thrilling.
What’s even more interesting was that this happened on the very first night of the individual’s freedom. Day one. Did I just hear that right. I mean, what the hell. Was it a mistake listening on my part? Just when I was about to interrupt to verify, the officer received a call and deprived me of hearing the end. And like that, our conversation and story time was over.
But I got to thinking, much like our unlucky friend in the story who violated probation on day one, how often does an individual violate when in those very early stages, as they get their first taste of freedom?
I mean is it really possible. Could it be that someone could be so callous, so reckless, that after being paroled and/or released, they (re)offend on the very first day(s) and are back locked up again? Don’t laugh, it’s true. And it happens all the time.
After further investigation, I learned it happens more often than you think. Too often. Why? Sex. Drugs. Danger. Maybe all the excitement. We say it’s worth it, and justify it by way of what we’ve been through.
Fact is, it’s hard to resist the partying and bullshit. We’re human and we err. We also tend to have addictive personalities and are hard wired for the rush. The drugs, alcohol, sex, and celebratory mood we find ourselves in, allow us to put our guard down for a small moment in time. And we revel in all this newfound freedom. As a result, we eff up big and good. In a way, it’s understandable.
We’ve been deprived for so long. I mean its cause for a celebration, right? Wrong. It seems without restrictions imposed; certain individuals just don’t know what to do with all this freedom. So they fall apart. Think of freedom as Las Vegas. All that temptation and opportunities to get yourself in trouble. Some people just can’t handle it.
Place Your Bets
Similarly, people come off of some form of supervision (or still on), and within a very short time they’re back in the hole. No pun intended.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) at the conclusion of a five year study
- Approximately three quarters (76%) of offenders were rearrested.
- The majority (43%) of offenders were rearrested within one year.
- 28% rearrested in the second year.
The longer an offender went without being rearrested, the less likely they were to relapse, as over the next three years the rearrest rates decreased dramatically. Although having to rely on state or national data sets that contain inherent inaccuracies can be quite frustrating, WE USE THESE STATISTICS MERELY TO PROVIDE SOME INSIGHT INTO WHAT ONE IS CHALLENGED WITH MOVING FORWARD IN LIFE WHEN FINDING (and following) THE RIGHT PATH.
We understand that the three big E’s are heavy influencers in whether someone will re-offend; Employment, Education, Environment.
After absorbing that data, you have to think about the choice you make for your life moving forward. Although it’s easy to despair over what life is to become for us, you must not fall into that category and become another sad statistic.
Our life is more meaningful than that. True, our behaviors and mindset are not normal, due to what’s transpired. But who wants to be normal anyways.
Occupy your time with productivity. Family, Work, Reading, Exercise, Learning a new skill. Things that will enable you positively, in order to keep your mind away from feeling sorry for yourself. Something that will move you closer to your goals, and further away from the anger and frustration that may consume you, leading to more consumption of alcohol, drugs, and committing to some bad shit.
Save the party and bullshit for another time. Roll up your sleeves and get to work. Create your own path. Then follow it. I never did get to hear the conclusion of that story. Then again, I’m pretty sure I know how it ended. Cheers to enjoying what we earned. Educate yourself on your situation, because nobody is going to do it for you. Stay well and out of trouble.
–The Educated Felon