Understanding the ‘Social Deprivation Mindset’: An Ex-Offender Speaks

Published 13/03/2013
Type Article
Author(s) Trevor Hercules
Corresponding Authors

As an offender, even as an ex-offender, I always felt I was at war in some way with this society, from an early age, and it has been a long journey to get to the point where I now believe l must take on some moral responsibility, and put something back, based on my experience. When I look around at the young people of today and see the same things happening to them as happened to me when I was young, it seems to me that the politicians and professionals have still not learnt how to deal with “problematic youth”, the dangers and difficulties they face, and the problems they cause for others. The purpose of this article is to enable people to understand what I term the “Social Deprivation Mindset” (SDM) – the outlook of many young people today – and to suggest that the criminal justice system should place more emphasis on changing the mindset of problematic individuals, rather than placing most of their efforts on challenging their re-offending. I believe that there are and can be people like me, ex-prisoners, who have changed their own lives around and who can now play an important role helping others to change. I am not saying that all ex-prisoners can or are able to do this, and, of course, even I would advocate stringent rules and regulations being put into place by government agencies like probation to constrain harmful behaviour.