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My name is Stephen Wilkinson and I am an ex-offender. For many years I enjoyed a successful career as a Financial Planner. I had a close family and was enjoying a rewarding career in the business world.
Then a personal family crisis presented itself. One that caused a tremendous amount of stress and grief. My wife was diagnosed with a terminal brain disease called Huntingtons Disease. It is inherited and strikes only 1 in 10,000 people.The effects of this disease are similar to a combination of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. There is no cure.
I became her caregiver. For the first 5 years I was able to balance my work with my caregiver duties. But eventually, as this disease ravaged her body I became less and less effective in handling my career and my caregiving responsibilities. Eventually my career failed and the family income was drastically reduced. Instead of having faith and instead of reaching out and asking for help I made the very poor decision to take things on all by myself.
I took money from some of my clients hoping that this would be a way out of my problem. It wasn't. I was eventually arrested on several counts of fraud. All of my clients had their money returned prior to my arrest. However, the state picked up the charges and I was placed on 5 years of probation. I successfully completed 3.5 years of the probation. During this time things were not going that well and I made yet another terrible decision to leave the state. I turned myself in after 1 year. I was found guilty of a technical violation of my probation and sentenced to prison for 5 years. My release date from the Florida Department of Corrections was December 2011.
I learned a lot while incarcerated. Understand that I was much older and wiser than the typical inmate. What I observed and experienced simply astounded me. As a citizen you would be amazed and angry if you knew the real story of the operation of the prison systems in the United States.
Instead of being content by being amazed and angry, I have decided to do something that hopefully will make a difference.
As I mentioned earlier, I spent 5 years inside correctional institutions. Therefore, I know what is really going on. I know about the machine that has been built over the years by some greedy, short sighted, bureaucrats. I know their motivation for positive change is non-existent. The fact is that prisons create jobs and jobs help communities. Communities, in turn, keep these power mongers in office. What's pathetic is that, yes jobs are needed,. but at the expense of ruining the lives of so many? They are not interested in reducing prison populations. In fact they are motivated to increase the numbers locked up. Why? Job security and of course, money and power !
This is why there are very few rehabilitation programs inside the "walls". Yes, officials will disagree and will try their best to sell you on the idea that there is. But when you read their propaganda you will discover that, in fact, only a very small percentage of the inmate population receive any type of training that will assist them upon their return to society. Less than 5% as a matter of fact.That's simply not acceptable. Would you be happy with a 5% success rate ?
This is why I have started Countime4Progress.I have the education and prior experience to help with the ex-felon's transformation to a productive citizen. I also have the real life experience of having been in the "trenches" with them for 5 years. I was a tutor during most of the time of my incarceration. I witnessed through my own labors how these souls can be trained and motivated to improve themselves. Sadly this will never happen under the existing system. Again, this is because the motivation to help inmates prepare for their futures is not there. They do not want the prison population to decrease.
Why? Again, money and power!
Countime4Progress's mission is to take on this challenge but I need your help! I realize I cannot help all that need it. I simply do not have a lot of time left on this earth. But I can help some. Others can build their programs using Countime4Progress as their model and then thousands can receive the assistance they need.
Please help. I know this will work.