After relapsing on a drug treatment course John had fallen into his old habits of shop lifting in order to feed his drug habit. He states he was ‘angry at the world’ for letting himself down and whilst being apprehended by a security guard for taking some of the stores goods he just “lost it” and threw the security guard into a cupboard causing some damage and distress to the security guard and other shop staff.
Whilst in prison John had started on the 12 Step Program and really started to think about the impact his behaviour may have had on others. Previously John was of the thinking that shop theft was a victimless crime, however he had started to understand the impact his offences may have had on shop staff and even the tax payer. When John was approached in prison by a Remedi worker about restorative justice he felt that this could be the avenue he needed to be able to start apologising for his actions and make amends for his behaviour. He agreed to write a letter of apology to the security guard.
The Remedi worker approached the store where the offence took place and spoke to the security guard and the store manager. They both explained to the Remedi worker that dealing with shop theft takes up lots of their time on a daily basis and does have a huge impact on all of the staff in the store. They had said that it would mean something for them to receive a letter as they never see an offender making an effort to apologise.
The Remedi worker made an appointment to visit the offender in Prison in order to do a letter writing session with John.
John wrote the following
At the time of the offence my life was really chaotic due to substance abuse. I was really angry as I had been previously clean with four years of total abstinent and was clean from both drink and drugs. I was really angry with myself and everyone around me.
My drink and drug use spiralled out of control rapidly and I found myself back in old habits of shoplifting.
Since coming back to prison I have addressed or rather am addressing my issues, I am on a drug free wing and am reflecting on my behaviour and I am
writing this letter to sincerely apologise as I understand the impact I have had on you personally and the people around you, not only that but I now understand that I am having an impact indirectly on the tax payers.
My behaviour has also had a massive impact on my family which believe it or not I have been ignorant to, and I am not taking sincere steps to change, I am working towards being a DIP officer an my hopes for the future is that I can stay clean one day at a time and help others, I wish to start this journey by sincerely apologising to you.
I am sorry. J
The store security guard read the letter, he had stated that if felt nice to actually receive an apology from someone as he only ever has negative experience of being abused by shoplifters daily, he said the process of restorative justice had allowed him to actually receive an apology form an offender which he never gets and this can be quite depressing for him as this is his job. He stated that by receiving the letter of apology he had seen a different side of the offenders which he sees everyday in a negative light and was glad to experience restorative justice just to receive an apology which he would not have normally had the opportunity to do.
He had stated that he did not wish to respond to the offenders letter but that he hoped he did do well in his future recovery and wished him well.