A prisoner gave this speech at the concluding session of the program in a correctional facility in Western Australia.
Firstly, I would like to welcome the visitors and thank you for coming.
Secondly, I would like to thank all the member of The Sycamore Tree program, for the opportunity you have given me to better myself, and for the time you have all invested in me. You came to visit week, after week to give we prisoner’s hope, into turning our lives around, and the opportunity to hear a different side of the story, the side of the victim and the side of the Survivor.
From the first session to the last you have shown me compassion, you have shown me care, and most of all you showed me forgiveness.
Every session I look to the front of me and I see a victim of crime. I look to my left again I see a victim of crime. So I then look to my right and again I see another victim of crime.
Later I go back to my cell and look in the mirror, and I see an offender, an offender who unknowingly could have potentially hurt as well as break hearts of lovely people such as – The person in front of me or – the person on my left or – The person on my right. For that and for the pain I caused to my family and those closest to me I regret the day I ever got involved in the drug world and its scene.
So today I look in the mirror, and I see an offender that wants to change and has already begun and I see an offender who has come to terms that enough is enough. I look in the mirror and I see myself, hungry for the healthy lifestyle, hungry for a peaceful life not only for me but for all people around me.
The leading up to my crime, followed by my incarceration has been the lowest chapter of my life. Deprived from my freedom, deprived from my family and deprived of my dignity has had significant hardship on my life. So today I look back at this as a chapter of my life that I am not so proud of but I see it as an experience that came at a cost to my victims and myself. Just maybe this experience may one day come in handy in helping someone like me given the fact that we may see eye to eye.
From the bottom of my heart I thank each one of you for your support and understanding.