The following was a few words shared with us regarding the adverse effect that labelling can have on some. This is exactly why it is important to be searching for a new language to be used within the Criminal Justice System within Scotland. We reproduce the full unedited text: –
“I suppose from the moment I was born in was instantly classed/labelled as another child born in to poverty with this I would have less opportunity’s than some other child being born at the same time in to a wealthier family. As I grew so did my invisible labels.
The one I remember most is the one I still suffer from till this day. I tell this to you with a heavy heart for the man who gave me this label was my father. I was a bit of a clumsy child growing up (still am I suppose, clumsy that is) and not being the brightest out of my siblings, I was labelled you fat mental bastard! I know how painful it was at the time it was being said, but little did I know how much an influence it would have shaping the man I am today. Never mind the boy I was then.
With this lack of self-belief and confidence in myself I became someone else, in school I became the joker of the class always messing around so I would not need to take part in the lesson. As I grew and the lessons got harder my behaviour was more extreme and sometimes violent towards the teacher. By the time I left primary school I had a new label, one of a fighter. When starting secondary school there were more labels, not the ones I speak about, but the ones you buy in shops. The ones I could never afford this made me stand out amongst my peers. I was picked on, on my first day there by other pupils from another housing scheme. I was now labelled a tramp or a black neck!
A fight ensued. Standing in the head-masters office I was subjected to a torrent of abuse and given another label, trouble maker.
It was all downhill from there in terms of me connecting with teachers or lessons.
After a while all my teacher would just leave me to my own devices in the class room, preferably sitting at the back of the class room.
Now I had become the person the labels said I was, more fights, more trouble more labels.
I was expelled from school by fourteen for gang fighting.
I was enrolled in another school soon afterwards, but only to be suspended for gang fighting a few weeks later.
By the time I was fifteen I left school all together and went to work with my father.
Life went on and so did the weight of my labels and because of the lack of self-belief in the person I wanted to be, the person I was shaped to be, became the person everyone knew including me.
This person was only heading in one direction prison, which I did.”
Now with a new label of ex offender I write this in the hope that we as a society of equality can get rid of these labels we are so willing place upon each other and fight for the right to be simply known as a human being and not products of an unjust society to be classed and labelled.”