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Guest Lecture - John Rives ex-convict

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Monday March 7th 2011
Lecture: Guest Lecturer
Talking about experience in prison and justice system
Imprisonment result from personal failures didnt come from stereotypical background of
murderers serious offenders cut through social classes police business lawyers, in
common alcohol, substance abuse, relationships that went sour and people with mental
health issues
Tremendous shock going from finishing a paper and then Sunday incarcerated for murder
and 2 attempt murders alien environment, beginning of dissociation opened windows
didnt expect to be opened didnt want to shower
Learned later upon reflection learned the actual dynamic was people thought he was a
crazy murderer they perceived him as a lion
Completely alienated go to prison for punishment the loss of freedom but after a while
you get used to it, the big issue is you lose freedom and lose ability to exercise choice when
you lose that you learn helplessness, in prison its done to you or for you if you spend 10 15
20 years telling you when to go to the bathroom thats the big effect, the loss
As a lifer he didnt understand what that entailed, few people do its for life debated
between doing the bit or killing themselves you become a new identity as a lifer, its like a
different ethnicity, its not that obvious, generally when you see a middle aged man you dont
think hes done time
First went to jail thought about it as the life bit got minimum sentence life 10 years
when got out was happy on parole, didnt care about surveillance with parole officers etc.
the longer your out the more it nags on you have to keep parole papers on you at all times
more and more he was out in the community, the more he felt like a normal person the
parole bothered him more even though its not there all of the time
Whats the biggest problem with parole? Parole itself, its always there you can forget to
tell you parole officer when you go outside your radius
Travels to the united states virtually impossible to cross the border with a criminal record
parole wasnt reinforcing his guilt it was clouding it, it was making him focus on the
parole and avoiding addressing the guilt etc.
Canada most lifers have plead guilty and not because ticket for lesser charge they do it
because they’re guilty 683 lifers on parole, used to be higher, over 1000 incarcerated in
prison used to be 50/50 uft more are taking longer to get out back then life-10 but now
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