Alternative sentencing works

I wholeheartedly support the Alternative Sentencing Program and I urge the public to lend its support also, because it truly is an enlightened approach.

In my own experience, I owned a construction outfit involved in residential and commercial renovation. At one time I had a contract to do offices for a Social Services organization and was asked if I would take two young people on a work programme and I accepted. They arrived with attitudes.

After a week or so of this, I sat down with them at lunch and explained that I would not accept someone with an attitude on my crew and that they did have options.

Rather bluntly I explained they could join in and become a part of the crew, or explore the other option, which was to spend their time at the Youth Detention Facility.

What made the difference was I said it was obvious they had not been given up on and they shouldn’t give up on themselves.

Over the next while the chips gradually disappeared from their shoulders. They had power over their future and maybe it was the first time they’d felt that.

When the work programme ended one young man went on to Trade School because he found he enjoyed it and the other who had a family was hired by one of my suppliers on my recommendation.

These are success stories, which could have turned out so much differently.

A. Creasey

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