This is John Howard Society Week, a time to recognize an organization that works on behalf of people who many cast aside as unworthy of that help — those who have committed crimes, served their sentence and are not re-entering a world that may not be as welcoming to them as it once was.
Earlier this week, we featured a story on Dean Langdon of Botwood, a participant in the society’s Linkages employment program. Langdon went to prison for assault and selling guns in 2014, and Linkages offered him a chance at early release.
But the program is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. Those who enroll in this and other programs have tough work ahead of them to earn the trust of the community again. If they don’t, it’s most likely back to jail, or worse.
Of course, earning that trust can be a catch-22. In order for the program to work, the community has to open its doors to the participants and have a bit of faith in the process.
There are several businesses in the area that work in conjunction with the Linkages program to show that faith, but no doubt the society is always on the lookout for more to come on board.
While it might be counterintuitive to extend that olive branch to those who have wronged society in the past, it can be the first step in repairing that relationship and building a better community.
So this week, while we applaud the John Howard Society and those who now take part in its programs — both the participants and the businesses that support them — let’s think about what we can all do to extend that helping hand.