Recently I was asked via unsolicited email if I did pro bono work. When I explained that I did but on a strict as needed basis, I expected the person to respond with many more questions and little case information. Especially since I did not know the nature of his crime. In fact, it turns out that the person in need of some coaching is a highly educated, former CPA who is in his 60’s.
I asked him some questions about where he lives and what he is doing for living expenses. He again surprised me with his candor and his story. A once high rolling person, he seemed to have already found the humility he will need to manage his prison term and come back to society a better and more grateful person.
The point is that I always maintain that prison can be a transformational experience. In this case I was expecting a less than honest and worthy person, what I got was a chance to truly help somebody out and the privilege of making a difference.
It is true, you never know whom you will meet in jail, and for some of us it takes a catastrophic event to make positive changes. But, change is possible with lots of hard work. We can all learn from this example and practice some true Restorative Justice.