Monday, August 30, 2010

Celia Lashlie on solution to crime

Celia Lashlie has written another book which I will be reading. My responses to her thoughts are always mixed but she makes me think. In the latest she apparently pushes the idea that the way to end crime is to work with the mothers who raise criminals. This isn't a new idea from her.


She is critical of the Government's new push for the faster permanent placement of children, which will leave in its wake, for some, a burning anger and resentment and a pathway to prison.

But for others it might be what saves them. Transient fostercare is a sure-fire pathway.

Nearly all of the women prisoners, 80 to 90 per cent of them, have been sexually, physically and psychologically abused throughout their lives, and often we - as in society and our state agencies - continue to abuse them when they get out, she says.

"I think that's the flash of anger I have," Lashlie says.

The media help in abusing them and no one claims any responsibility, she says.

"We run this idea that they've had terrible lives and it was someone else's fault, and I've become increasingly angry because it wasn't someone else's fault.

"Sometimes it's our bloody state agencies that have done it and how about we stop being quite so sanctimonious."

Lashlie is very angry with the way the state and society handle dysfunctional mothers and their children but I can't see how much more liberal society can get. Relative to earlier times, nobody is stigmatised. Nobody is punished. Nobody is left penniless. There are many organisations trying to work alongside families with criminal issues. The Salvation Army, various church and community groups, prisoner rehab groups, Jigsaw, Barnardos, Birthright, Supergrans, etc. The law has recently been changed to allow greater presence of newborns in prisons.

I've worked with a few people who fit the bill and I know that they get chances. Often many. Some make the most of those opportunities and others waste them.

In the book, Lashlie writes that we can focus on the building of more prisons and sit in our comfortable chairs with a glass of wine lamenting the lack of parenting skills among the lower classes.

What we really need to do, she says, is work with the mothers.

But I can agree that more people need to step up and offer whatever they can in terms of their time and their own capabilities. The people Lashlie is talking about aren't scary. They aren't a threat to you and me. In fact they are as various as any other people in society. Sometimes highly likeable and sometimes not. Depends whether you hit it off. But a good match can make a difference. And when it does, it's extremely rewarding.


mojo said...

I see.

susieq said...

i agree with both Celia Lashlie and Lindsay Mitchell. My experience has been that the people who seem unable to change have been marginalised and weakened to the degree they have no sense of self or belief in self efficacy, and their surrounding supports and environment continue to maintain them in such a state.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Well put Susie. On the button. As a society we seem almost damned if we do and damned if we don't. And things will get worse before they get better. Send me a e-mail if you wish. I would be interested in 'your experience' and I am diplomatic :-)