What I'm reading: Feel the Heat, by Cindy Gerard.
I'm continuing the repeats of my Nov. 2008 series on Criminal Thinking, taken from my workshop notes. See last week's entry here.
A brief recap: Malinowski defines "criminal" as someone who lives a lifestyle of crime. To a criminal, the usual boundaries of authority don't apply.
In his presentation, Malinowski also stressed the difference between cause and influence. For example, poverty does not cause crime, but it definitely influences it. For Malinowski, the personal motivation that gives meaning to his job stems from his belief that a criminal has three basic choices.
1. Continue the life of crime. This will result in the criminal returning to prison, dying on the streets, or dying in prison.
2. Suicide. Not a recommendation but nonetheless, still a 'choice'. Fear keeps most criminals from suicide.
3. Change. Must be deep change. Without deep change, there is only slow death, so change becomes a "life vs. death" choice.
Malinowski's goal is to help offenders see the need for change, and to give them the tools they need to effect it.
A quick statistic: 97% of incarcerated people get out of prison. (Often many times,) Only 3% die in prison, either by the death penalty, of natural causes, or at the hand of other prisoners. In the Florida system, there are 100,000 inmates, and 129,000 who are out "under supervision."
Malinowski suggested that the next time you go to eat at a restaurant like Denny's, or Applebees, or TGI Friday's, you take a look around the back. Are there bicycles parked there? Odds are good that these belong to people who are recently out of prison, perhaps on a work release program. Since they can't hold a driver's license, they'll bike to work.
He told us of receiving a phone call (by law, they're required to answer all telephone calls from prisoners so they can't claim they tried to get in touch with them but couldn't reach them) from a recently released inmate. He went on and on about how he'd gotten with the program, had a place to live (girlfriend), checked in with a parole officer, and had a job lined up (graphic artist) that would pay him $1700. Malinowski didn't recall the name, so he looked it up in the prison computer system. The guy had been arrested 22 times, and had been in prison 5 times. He was calling because he needed $80 to rent the airbrush equipment so he could do the job and get paid, and to him, the easiest and fastest way to the money was to call the instructor of the Life Skills class.
One side note – why the picture of the binder clips? The stacks of class handouts were fastened with these clips. After unclipping them to pass them out, David's colleague automatically hooked the clips together and put them in his pocket, whereas we would probably just leave them on the table. Why? Because if you remove the prongs from the clip, they'll unlock a pair of handcuffs.
Along those lines, Nike once manufactured some elite shoes with chrome tips on the laces (anyone know the correct term for those tips? I did, which was my moment of fame in the class) which also were perfect for unlocking cuffs.