Day release helped Jason rejoin society
Jason went to prison aged 17 and was released just before he turned 30. After such a long sentence he found the Release on Temporary License (ROTL) scheme crucial in enabling him to adjust back to society. Desistance theory argues that the three most important motivating factors for someone to stop committing crime are employment, a stable home and healthy relationships all of which are undermined by prison, according to Jason.
“If ROTL had been removed for me, I wouldn’t have been able to establish relationships with people, volunteer or plan a future career. I needed a period of adjustment to the outside world that enabled me to become familiar with changed technologies and myself as an adult in an environment that I was unfamiliar with.” he says.
Ten years on, Jason is now a university lecturer in Criminology and is currently working on a PhD. He was inspired to become an academic after attending a three day conference at Cambridge on the 'Effects of Imprisonment'.
He says: “I attended that conference whilst on ROTL and meeting the many eminent scholars from all over the world introduced me to the possibility of a career in academia. Without that I would not have applied to the LSE, I would not have gone on to do a MA at Cambridge nor pursue Doctoral studies and I would not now be a lecturer.”
Jason was initially encouraged to get qualifications whist in prison with support from a Philosophy teacher who put him forward for A-level exams and he went on to study toward a degree in the humanities funded by PET in 2002.
At the same time as studying, he left the prison at 8am and returned at 8pm each day to volunteer for a blind charity, which helped him to understand the routine of commuting, working in an office environment and managing finances. At work, his colleagues helped him with his degree research by borrowing books from the local library that he could read.
During this period Jason also focused on rebuilding relationships with his family, “Though they had remained close over the years of my incarceration there was still a need to rebuild a life with them. I attended family birthdays and functions whilst on ROTL. This not only eased me back into their lives but also allowed them to get used to having me be an active part of their lives once again.”