Rehabilitation: Oasis, or Mirage? (Part I)

The man who runs the Maison Orléans, a place of healing and welcoming in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, is curious. The subject being discussed – rehabilitation in a prison setting.

By Colin McGregor

Why ask me about this subject? Because, at the time, I am in the 27th year of a prison sentence.

I am visiting the Maison Orléans as part of a supervised group on a five-hour pass from a minimum secure prison in Laval. The Maison’s director asks me:
“Is it possible for someone to change?”

Our host is a sensitive, educated man who works with broken hearts and broken spirits each and every day, and, as much as is possible, his job is to help repair these broken people. He’s talking of course about criminals. And he believes in change.

But on this day, I really don’t have an answer for him off the top of my head.

Back at the prison, I think about his question.

A few days later, after talking about the subject with another inmate, a professional writer, I decide to look for an answer.

We agree that crime comes from a selfish place. You think you are more important than those around you, so you steal, you kill, you assault, regardless of what your actions do to others.

Crime is the most egotistical of all human acts.

I launch upon my search for an answer to the Maison Orléans question.

First sen in: Reflet de Société, Vol. 27 no. 1, printemps (spring) 2019, pages 26-27.

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