On all levels...
Why Crime Does Not Pay…On All Levels
As a former criminal, I never weighed the pros and cons of my criminal actions. I “knew” there might be a possibility I might go to jail or worse, prison, but did I focus on the consequences? Honestly, I did not.
After I started serving my sentence, I had to ask myself…was THIS worth it? Losing my freedom put my criminal “career” in perspective. I knew I had to make changes, or I would likely be doomed to commit the same actions if released. I knew I didn’t want to go back to prison. That was a fact.
Does crime pay? I was an ex-burglar who broke into stores. My story is not unique to any extent of WHY I landed in prison. But where the consequences (prison time) worth what I “received” for my crimes?
Financially, I could have stayed out of prison and gotten a job and within three years I could have made the amount of money I stole from others. So, financially, crime did not pay.
Having a criminal record and multiple felony convictions stopped me from obtaining job positions and has barred me from having simple freedoms I could have had if I had not committed crimes, so NO, again, crime does not pay.
What about the emotional, mental, psychological abuse I received while in prison? Was it worth coming to prison to risk my mental health? No, it was not. I will forever be scarred by the prison experience. Another reason not to go back, and I can honestly say that crime does not pay when it comes down to my mental health.
What about the relationships and bridges I burned because of my criminal actions? Was it worth losing friends, family, my job, and a free college education? The answer is simply…no.
I spent 11.5 years in prison and let me say, the majority of my experience was negative. Not one good thing came out of me committing crimes and putting myself in that position. I tell people all the time, change your mind-set. Look at what got you to prison and change the way you think. I am not talking about the ones who are truly innocent. I am talking about the ones who put themselves in prison because of their criminal activity.
I can honestly say that not one good thing came out of me breaking the law. I still have remorse and yes, I do get angry at myself. Yes, I have moved on and I have forgiven myself to an extent. I have to if I am to make progress out here, but still…
I am still learning daily. Prison messed me up people. I am not alone in this. Listen to the stories from others who have been through the experience and are still going through it right now.
I am fortunate to have loving support in my life today and Lord knows I didn’t deserve it. My wife was there for me the whole time. She believed in me when no one else did. My mother found me in prison after 40 years of not knowing her for most of my life. My life has changed dramatically since my incarceration, but I will tell you this. I was not a victim. I made conscious decisions to break the law. I did not commit crimes to fuel my drug habit (many do, but I was not one of them). I did it for the simple fact that I put myself in financial hardship and instead of working like the next man or woman, I chose to break the law. Yes, I had some factors that played a part in how my life turned out, but I still made the choices.
To all of those who think about breaking the law…let me save you the trouble. It is not worth it on ALL levels. It will cost you more after you are done serving your time. No amount of money in the world would ever make me go back to that hell hole. I have a stable job (in a management position now and rising slowly but surely), a loving family and wife who love me more than I deserve. For me to throw that away would be my biggest regret.
Does crime pay? Again, the answer is simple…no.