ACEs in the Criminal Justice System

Discussion and sharing of resources in working with clients involved in the criminal justice system and how screening for and treating ACEs will lead to successful re-entry of prisoners into the community and reduced recidivism for former offenders.

Confused

I suffered constant physical and mental abuse and a child and witnessed my brother being abused (often the abuse occurred with us both at the same time). It got to the point of having enough around the age of thirteen. I rebelled in a constant state of rage, venturing into alcohol and drugs, crime, violence. At the age of seventeen I was arrested and sentenced to serve the rest of my life in prison.

Resilience: Early in my prison term I had a spiritual awakening. Turned my life around. Mentored men as I learned a healthier way of life. Educated myself: GED; Associate Degree; tutored men; became a tutor trainer; taught myself fluent Spanish in order to reach out to the influx of Hispanics (rather than the idea that they had to know English); and a lot more education. Became a Certified Peer Specialist and a Certified Recovery Specialist. Got married (married 32 years) with her whole family support.

The US Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile to life in prison. Released 2017 after 35 years. Two directors wanted me to work in their organization as a certified peer specialist but they cannot because of federal law. I just became a Certified Recovery Specialist. 

I want to educate myself in this field. Do I have to work for an organization in order to become educated in this trauma informed area? Would love to work in the field of mental health and/or substance abuse. Is it possible for me to work in this field, even volunteer? I get the pain. I fully understand it. Therefore, as I have been in the past over and over again, I can be a great asset. If there are open doors, where do I look?

Thanks for being there!

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