How a Middle Class White Boy goes to Jail: Why and how I end up Back There

Dean Lloyd

Dean Lloyd Counselling Services

Dean is a 44 year old man who was born and raised in white suburban Australia. In his school years he was an elite sportsman and not one for academic pursuit. Around the age of 18 he started using heroin and became heavily addicted. His addiction took him on a wild ride, with 15+ AOD treatment admissions, a prison sentence, a failed marriage and a child born who became the catalyst for eventually getting clean and finding recovery, integrity, dignity and a life worth living. He has over a decade's experience in the Real Estate industry, however in the last 6 years he has transitioned into the not for profit community sector, starting that transition in Community Housing and then working to support men exiting prison with identified AOD issues in both residential abstinence and harm minimisation models. Ultimately he landed a role writing and coordinating a pre-release prison program to assist people into employment post-release. In a complete 180 degree turn, he has developed a thirst for learning along the way and has completed academic studies in Community Services and Counselling. He is a passionate advocate for change in the current punitive Australian prison system and proudly stands with our First Nations people as their struggle and healing continue. Dean is a married father of three who works tirelessly to better himself and his community.

Seventeen years ago I was sentenced to 4 years in prison for the crime of robbery in company. In this presentation I share my lived experience of prison and my struggle of reintegration back into the community, even as a member of the most privileged demographic. My presentation will be through the lens of my own lived experience, and informed by my last 5 years of working with people recently released or close to release, as well as my post-release education (Diploma of Community Services and Graduate Certificate in Counselling). My presentation will address a number of issues including: • The limitations of the current punitive system to effect change; • My challenges in becoming a productive member of society; • How a prison friendship led to my career change into the community sector; • My idealistic dream to secure employment in Corrective Services NSW to impact and disrupt the system for change from the inside and the deflating reality of that. • How I came so close to achieving my ultimate dream - the inspiration for my career change. • A recent realisation that what I am doing may be assisting the current system to remain the same.

Ultimately I want to discuss my experience of how my 4 year sentence has turned out to be a life sentence.