Circle Sentencing program supports offenders to get back on the right track

ATTENDING the Macksville Circle Sentencing program’s Premier’s Award presentation day on 26 May was a reformed offender who, in his own words, is “very grateful for the Circle and how it helped change my life”.

The man’s name is Daniel, and he shared at the presentation some of his personal story from both before and after his experience of the Circle Sentencing Program.

Daniel spoke of being an “uncontrollable, stubborn and ignorant kid” who started making poor choices at a young age.

“I left home at fifteen and started hanging around the wrong places smoking and drinking, which quickly led to the beginning of my criminal history.”

Daniel told the gathering about his criminal life-style, which saw him running from police, rehab and courtrooms.

“My life was just spiralling out of control, a drug addicted, paranoid, careless criminal with not a worry in the world other than for myself and my needs.”

He was eventually caught by the police.

“No more running and hiding from the police, I wasn’t happy, but relieved at the same time.”

Daniel’s solicitor offered him the option of the Circle Sentencing Court, and he was accepted into the program by the local Magistrate.

“Going through the Circle was the real turning point in my life.

“I was reconnected with my culture, my family, and most importantly my children.

“Through the Circle I was given the right tools and support to address my issues, my criminal behaviour, my drug addiction.

“The Circle has definitely changed my life.”

Daniel now considers himself a rehabilitated man who has been drug free for five years.

“I have become a father and a role model to my kids, gotten a driver’s licence and found a job, which helps me strive to be a better person, father and partner every day.

“Still to this day I remain in contact with Victor and the Elders from the Circle and I’m very grateful for the Circle and how it helped change my life.”

When News Of The Area spoke with Victor Darcy, Senior Aboriginal Client and Community Support Officer Department of Communities and Justice, about the Circle Sentencing Program, he spoke of the many offenders that successfully move through the program and never reoffend again, like Daniel.

“In some of them you can see the bulb turn on when we are talking with them.

“We are asking them to think, asking them what are you going to do to correct that behaviour,” Victor said.


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