In Alberta, an ex-con offers counseling services from his own experience

In Alberta, an ex-inmate offers counseling services based on his own experience

The company DeadEyes.NoLies offers a variety of services, such as teaching a prisoner how to plead for parole or for the reduction of his penalty.

After 23 years behind bars, Darin Edwards from St. Albert, Alberta offers counseling services to new prisoners to help them stay safe in prison and prepare them for what they need to face. #x27;wait after their release.

While in custody, Darin Edwards witnessed multiple murders and assaults. A riot in a Drumheller prison in 2001 when he was 19 years old particularly marked him because he lost a friend.

After discovering that counseling services for inmates are widespread in the United States, but that they are not very present in Canada, he saw a business opportunity to seize, by taking advantage of his experience and his knowledge of the prison environment.

His company, DeadEyes.NoLies, which he co-founded seven months ago with Amy-Rae Goodman, offers a variety of services. For example, she can teach a prisoner how to advocate for parole or for the reduction of a sentence, or even help him follow his correctional plan.

For For people whose time in prison ends and who return to the community, the company helps them connect to community services, find housing and support them in their job search.

The consultation is charged based on the services provided and the client's ability to pay.

The United States, which has one of the highest incarceration rates highest in the world, have a well-established prison consulting industry.

The likes of Harvey Weinstein, Martha Stewart, and even some people facing assault-related charges du Capitole in 2021 have used these services.

The country spends more than $80 billion every year to keep an estimated 2.3 million people behind bars, according to a 2018 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

In comparison, Statistics Canada indicates that 37,854 adult offenders were incarcerated in federal and provincial correctional facilities in 2018-2019.

Darin Edwards uses his prison experience to advise his clientele.

Before starting DeadEyes.NoLies, Darin Edwards did research to learn about the industry prison counseling in Canada. He found only one firm offering such services in Toronto, Canadian Prison Consulting, founded in 2010 by Lee Steven Chapelle.

The latter, who spent more than 20 years in correctional institutions in Quebec and Ontario, says that the idea to create his company came to him in 2007, when he was president of a inmate committee.

Over the past 12 years, Steven Chapelle has managed to develop connections within the legal world, in particular to be able to offer advisory services focused on liability. For example, the need for an inmate to understand what led him to prison, in order to overcome his ordeal and not start again after his release from prison, he explains.

He says he handles an average of 25 clients, to whom he pays $300 per service.

In addition to Darin Edwards' office in St. Albert, the group Free Lands Free Peoples also offers advice to prisoners. Based in Edmonton, it has the distinction of being led by Aboriginal people and advocating for the abolition of the police and the penal system.

One ​​of its members, Molly Swain, believes that the nature of prison counseling highlights the failure of the system. It's a service that certainly fills a void, she says of DeadEyes.NoLies.

She also regrets that these services are only provided by private companies , because not everyone can afford paid services, she believes.

With information from Mrinali Anchan

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