Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal?

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Courtesy of bolobhi.org

Luke, Copy Editor

In 2012, ex-Manchester City footballer Ched Evans was sentenced to five years behind bars after he was found guilty of rape; rape that he insists he did not commit. Around a month ago he was released from prison after serving only half of his sentence and has voiced his desire to restart his professional footballing career.

After his release he was permitted to train with his old team Sheffield United, but within days the deal was terminated after the club sponsors and fans protested against a rapist representing their team. A similar situation occurred later when English club Oldham Athletic was prepared to sign him. The deal was upon confirmation, but each one of their sponsors threatened to terminate any deals with the club if it went ahead, forcing them to make the financially responsible decision of not signing Evans.

Rapists, thieves, paedophiles and even murderers are released from prison after they have served their punishment for breaking the law. The idea is that they have had sufficient rehabilitation time and that they are safe to live amongst society again. The problem is that most ex-convicts struggle to find work of any sort, never mind as a professional footballer. Earning a wage and having a peaceful life after committing a terrible crime like rape or paedophilia is not right in the eyes of so many, and ex-convicts are usually left with very few options.

One option is that they return to crime in order to earn money or to just have something to do. Often thieves find themselves stealing again when they come out of prison as they are left unemployed, and their life of crime continues rather than starting afresh. Rather than making them fit for society again, prison can cause the convicts to turn back to crime after being released, and society is made a dangerous place again.

The question is; should society provide released prisoners with support in the form of employment or benefits? Have your say in the comments below!