The Better Man – a former inmate writes of life on the outside

Prologue – The Better Man

“If you treat a man as he is, he will stay as he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become the bigger and better man.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I am a level one sex offender. When I was 31 I had sex with a 14-year-old girl. I was convicted of Rape of a Child in the 3rd Degree. I was sentenced to 46 months in custody. 28 months would be served in prison while the remaining 18 would be served on Community Custody, or, “probation”. I have completed my prison time and am about to start my Community Custody. This means I am free to leave the prison but I am still under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections.

When I entered county jail I was addicted to marijuana. I was a womanizer. I was an irresponsible father. I was an unfaithful husband. I was immoral.

I was a terrible man.

The shock of having everything you own taken away from you is frightful and humbling. One day you’re the man of your own destiny. The next day, some guy in a blue suit is telling you you can’t have two pairs of socks in your possession. County jail is a place of desperation. Maybe I’ll write about it one day. But this series is about the product of such things. In this case the product is betterment.

I did wrong. At first I had all kinds of excuses for my offending and justifications to make it easier for me to handle. But in fact I broke the law and I’ve made life hard for certain people. I can’t speak for them. But I can speak for myself.

I can tell you the story of my transformation, but it’s my day to day life that will testify to that transformation. I am no longer addicted to marijuana. I am no longer a womanizer. I am no longer an irresponsible father. I am no longer immoral.

I am a good man. I am a respectable man. I am an honest man. I am a clean man. I am a noble man. And I will act as such. My decisions will be based on these affirmations.

The following is the journal of my release and new-found life. I will try to plainly communicate the ups and downs of a sex offender releasing to the community. My hope is that I will bring a new understanding to everyone who reads it what a man like me goes through at this point in the life of a sex offender. I don’t have all the answers. I’m looking for answers. I have fears and hopes. I want to do good, but face bad situations created by my own hand. I have a whole new outlook on life, people, and the way the two intertwine. I’ll be despised. I’ll be hated. I’ll not be trusted. And yet, there are already people who are willing to help me and others like me. Why?

Why would someone help a sex offender? I think the quote at the top answers that. If one treats a man like he will offend again, he will be convinced that there’s no hope to rehabilitate and will eventually reoffend. And no one wants that. But if one treats an ex-sex offender like a man who did wrong but is trying to sincerely make things right by living right, then that man will feel like he’s doing right and will strive to do right.

I am willing to be an example. A good example for inmates coming out of prison, and to the communities who receive them. I am no longer the man I was. I am The Better Man.

  1. PJ, Minnesota says:

    Add to your list of things you are: An excellent writer. It can’t be easy putting all this into words, but you did a fine job. I was drawn in from your first sentence and didn’t stop reading until I got to the end. I hope you can continue to be The Better Man. The world needs more of that. Good luck to you!

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