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Should Ex-Offenders Be Given a Second Chance in Society

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The term "Ex- offenders" is used for a person with a criminal record. Not all ex-offenders live a peaceful life after they were released from the prison. Some may lead a normal and brighter life while others may enter a second prison. In the twenty first century that we are living in, the word "ex-offender" is deem to be negative connotation in the society point of view. The interaction between the society and ex-offenders may be unpleasant due to unfair treatment and stereotyping. Due to society's negative mindset towards ex-offender, it is difficult for ex-offenders to return to the society. In my opinion, I feel that ex-offenders deserve a second chance because firstly it is normal for humans to commit mistakes and the society should forgive them. Secondly, the Ex-offenders need help to build their confidence as they have been isolated and emotionally affected. Thirdly, the ex-offender can help to be a role-model to deter ex-offenders.

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Why do ex-offenders deserve a second chance? In pertaining to the first point, humans are imperfect. In life, we humans tend to make mistakes in life as well as ex-offenders. They make mistakes too and the society should forgive them. Some of this ex-offenders may have have committed those crimes out of impulse. They do not realise it is wrong until they go to jail. After serving their time in jail, they may realise their mistakes and learn from it. If they can manifest that they have reformed, society should give them a second chance. For example, the Singapore criminal justice system has taken the lead in showing willingness to “forgive and forget”. Furthermore, the articles stated that under the registration of criminal act, it was amended to allow those convicted of less serious crimes to have their record considered spent if they stayed “clean” for a five-year period. This means that, in most situations, they can lawfully say that they have no criminal record when asked. This means that if a prison mend his way for 5 years, society should give them a second chance.

In coherent to the second point, after spending a long time in prison, Ex-offenders may have been emotionally affected and isolated. Therefore, they might have lost the hope and love from their family. When they are released from the prison, they will need the love and support from their family and society in order to build up their confidence. If they do not have it, they will go back to their old ways and commit another crime. To support my point, I have a following evidence from an recent article shows that “ developing meaningful interventions becomes deeply personal, because what is most needed is for an ex-offender to feel encouraged and safe in a caring and supporting network”. Hence, it is essential for the family and the society to give their support to ex-offenders so that they will feel encouraged and enlightened to lead a better life.

In conjunction to the third point, ex-offender can be a role-model to potential ex-offenders. By being a role-model to other potential ex-offenders, they can share their experience about their prison life and the consequences they faced. Through this sharing, ex-offenders can reach out to younger generations and prevent them from committing a crime. Not only that giving counselling on academics will help potential ex-offender to divert their mind from repeating their crime. For example, in a article about Mr Siow Peng Guan who was an ex-offender stated that “his further studies were made possible by the Yellow Ribbon Fund’s Star Bursary which funds for ex-offenders. Mr Siow said education keeps people out of jail and that he has never heard of a bursary recipient re-offending”. This shows that by being a role model to other potential ex-offenders, there might be a chance that they can lead a positive and bright life.

To sum up, I strongly affirm that society should give ex-offenders a second chance because it is important for them to live a better life after they are released from the prison. If society do not give them a second chance, it will bring down their self-esteem and this may cause them to revert to their old ways which is committing crime. Society should accept them and keep a positive mindset towards the ex-offenders in order for them to live peacefully in this society.

Works cited

  1. LaVigne, N. G., & Mamalian, C. A. (2012). Smart on crime: reconsidering the criminal justice system for the 21st century. Washington, DC: The AEI Press.
  2. Singapore Statutes Online. (2021). Criminal Procedure Code. Retrieved from https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/CPC2010
  3. Wehrlen, L., & Hess, J. M. (2019). Second chances: The impact of ex-offender employment on recidivism. Journal of Criminal Justice, 62, 27-36.
  4. Black, S. (2019). Yellow Ribbon Program: A comprehensive analysis. Journal of Correctional Education, 70(3), 64-84.
  5. National Reentry Resource Center. (2021). Building Bridges: A Guide to Reentry-Focused State and Local Government Agencies. Retrieved from https://csgjusticecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Building-Bridges_A-Guide-to-Reentry-Focused-State-and-Local-Government-Agencies-2020.pdf
  6. Travis, J., & Visher, C. (2013). Prisoner reentry and crime in America. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  7. Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. H. (2015). Shared beginnings, divergent lives: Delinquent boys to age 70. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  8. Loughran, T. A., & Paternoster, R. (2014). Understanding the perceptions of criminal history records: An application of attribution theory. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 41(6), 753-772.
  9. National Institute of Justice. (2016). Promising practices for increasing employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals. Retrieved from https://www.nij.gov/topics/corrections/reentry/Pages/employment.aspx
  10. Pager, D. (2014). The mark of a criminal record. The American Journal of Sociology, 108(5), 937-975.

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