In this article I do not recount the depressing data ad infinitum. We know crime rages across our nation. We also know that many times the criminals are people we love. In this article I outline a strategy by which the almost 20 million family members and loved ones of criminals can organize themselves into a formidable force for change.
You might not have thought about it this way before, but the families and loved ones of criminals (FLOC) constitute a stakeholder group with a vested interest in changing criminals. With just an average of two family members and loved ones per documented criminal, the FLOC numbers nearly 20 million individuals. Twenty million people organized and working a clearly defined agenda constitute a comprehensive catalyst for change.
Therefore, this article proposes to introduce a strategy to help organize the FLOC into the NFLOC (Network of Families and Loved Ones of Criminals).
Consider this analogy!
Picture a huge fishing net, composed of thousands of diamond-shaped connectors, none of which could catch a fish individually. But as these indiividual connectors become a "working net," or a network, their fish-catching abilities emerge and expand. The larger and stronger the net, the more fish they can transform into a useful resource. That's my definition of technology: being a strategy or tool that transforms something into a useful resource. Taking the time to weave the diamond-shaped connectors into a large strong net was the strategy that produced the technology to transform fish into a useful resource.
Therefore, to transform criminals into contributing citizens, we need a strategy that connects the stakeholders into a huge network that becomes the transforming technology. As a key group of stakeholders, the FLOC should lead the way. Consider the stakeholders:
1. Criminals who must learn to become contributing citizens because only changed criminals permanently reduce crime. I estimate that during my 20-year crime career, I averaged about $200 in crime damages daily. That's an annual total of $78,000 in costs to law abiding citizens, and a 20-year total of slightly more than $1.5 million. However, for the 39 years--this December--that I've been a contributing citizen, I've reduced crime costs by $3.1 million because I didn't add my costs to other criminal liabilities.
2. Crime response professionals, a group that includes law enforcement officers, judiciary officials and correctional professionals who must learn to advocate for change, rather than endlessly push for punishment.
3. Citizens who pay all the crime costs. Consider this! If someone burglarizes your home, who paid for what they steal? When you report the crime to the police, who pays for the police? If the police arrest a suspect, who pays for the jail? When you come to court to testify, who pays the judge, the prosecuting attorney and the pubic defender, or court appointed lawyer? So you, the crime victim, pays one lawyer to achieve a conviction, and another lawyer to achieve an acquittal. Can you see now why lawyers in courts do so much plea bargaining? The FLOC, of course, occupy this group of stakeholders, often indistinguishable from any other citizen in this group. Crime victims are also included in this group.
4. Careerists, business owners, human resource professionals and others who must decide if they will hire some people released from prison. To make quality decisions, they must learn to discern the difference between changing and conning.
5. Change advocates, a group of stakeholders from stakeholder groups two, three and four who contribute to the change process.
6. Change activists, a group of criminals who are actively involved in the change process.
7. Change conquerors, change activists who have become contributing citizens
Gainful employment with a bright future constitutes one of the strongest barriers to change for criminals who want to become contributing citizens. The FLOC organized into a network of home based business owners could help tremendously. Listen up! Let's say you have a family member or loved one in prison who is scheduled to be released in 2012, five years from now. What if you launched a home base business operation and began making it successful? What if, you shared these experiences with your relative or loved one as he or she counts down to release date? In the sharing, what if you were able to demonstrate how a group of contributing citizens working together can guarantee success?
Let me illustrate the awesome power of the network!
The first law of successful business is to find a large and expanding market of people who need what you have to offer. Guess what! Nearly 20 million FLOC members constitute a growing and expanding market of people with definable needs. Let's begin conservatively. Let's say 5,000 members of the FLOC anyplace in the country decide to work together and simultaneously launch a series of home based business operations. The objective would be to have businesses in 50 different industries.So you would have 100 HBBOs per industry. That's 5,000 HBBOs in 50 areas or industries in the network. Now, what if everyone in the network agreed to be customers for each other, spending an average of $25 with 100 businesses in the network each month.
On the expense side of the ledger, this strategy will cost you, a NFLOC member, $2,500 each month, mostly in legitimate, tax deductible business expenses, if the network is planned effectively. On the income side, this strategy generates $2,500 in month for each HBBO. That's $12.5 million circulating through the network each month, and in the network each business breaks even each month on this project. That's the objective.