Over the last 15 months I have faced up to some harsh realities. Through my crimes I failed as a father, husband, son, brother and friend. I hurt the one’s I love and I will have to live with that forever. I have been honest with myself, admitting what I did was wrong and with help, I am understanding why I went wrong. But everything that has happened to me, is my fault.

Mid last year, I was released from prison, and that was the first new day of my new life.

I will not forget what I did and the hurt I caused to the people I love. With the support I have and my faith I am looking forward to rebuild my life, I know it will be a path with obstacles in the way, but forward I will go, never to offend again. I have a second chance and I will not falter.

However, I owe society nothing. For 23 years of my working life I helped to protect the people of my county. What I did was wrong, but when I was not committing my crimes, I was a good man. I like many other in life made a big mistake, but how long does society punish us for it?

Why when my crime did not involve driving, does my car insurance go up from £200 – £600 pounds a year. Insurance companies may say, what I did shows a lack of judgement and error, which could come out in bad driving. Rubbish, for the 3 years I was committing my crimes, I did not have one accident. It did not effect my driving. Insurance companies discriminate against people with convictions. What they are saying is, “all people with convictions that are not spent are bad drivers, therefore have to pay more”. That is ridiculous and discriminatory.

I was guilty of my crimes, I admitted that guilt at court and was sentenced to prison as punishment for that crime. I have now paid my dues to society, now it has to let me get on.

Now you should say why should society let me get on?

Because society thinks it is forgiving and will give second chances. I am sure most of society if they make a mistake, hope they are judged on their life as a whole, not the small period they offended. Therefore Society has to practise what it preaches.

Therefore employers should not refuse you a job just because you have a conviction. As Unlock say, there is a vast pool of experience out there, that is disregarded, because people see a conviction and not the person.

I am not my conviction, I am a good man.

Also the only difference between me and other men is I made a mistake. One day it could be them making the mistake and asking for a second chance. Best society is made aware now that the majority of society is unforgiving and there are no second chances. Perhaps that would help to reduce crime if Society knew the truth.

That’s why in my new life I will assist and help charities like Unlock and other organisations to spread the word. That a convicted person is not a bad person, they are someone who made a mistake. Tomorrow a friend or family member or you could make a mistake. How would you feel if you were judged on you conviction, and not as the person you are?

Let them who have not sinned, throw the first stone. If you pick that stone up and throw it. Remember, it could come back to you!

By Brian (name changed to protect identity)

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