Gaining Insight into Criminal Minds – Maegan Moran

This week Maegan writes about how she found her comfort zone interning at the Vermont Department of Corrections and about how this experience has given her insight into criminal minds.

Well the true definition of “your comfort zone” is a difficult one to master. At times I feel as though my comfort zone just adapted to the demands of the job. For whatever reason I never felt overly uncomfortable, even in the beginning, talking with offenders and discussing, in most cases, their risk on a day to day basis. At the same time I feel as though I have pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone because I have become more comfortable with interacting with offenders because I understand how to have better conversations with them to gather more information and find out about any current risks whether they are sex risks, substance risks, or any other types of risk.

logoThere is no doubt that I have experienced a part of my life I have never encountered before. This is the first time I have had interactions with offenders on supervision in a professional capacity. In the past month I have helped to write parole summaries for different probation officers in the office, before this internship I didn’t even know what one of these documents was and now I am assisting in the writing of the summary. For someone like me everything is a new experience and that is great because from the beginning I said that I wanted to understand the Vermont Department of Corrections in a better way.

Not only have I learned more about how the Department operates, but I have learned more about “criminal minds” as well. This internship has afforded me the opportunity to talk with offenders who have committed a variety of criminal acts. While I still can’t completely understand why people break the law and commit the crimes they do, I do understand more that it is the behavior and attitudes we don’t like, not the person. Comprehending and appreciating that statement has increased my ability to understand where offenders are coming from, and to in some ways understand how a criminal mind operates.

At times I find it hard to understand how a person can become violent and harm others, and most people would probably struggle to understand this as well. The same is probably true about trying to understand how a person could use drugs like heroin or cocaine. Now let’s think about a health nut’s perspective on someone eating fried chicken. That person would find it hard to understand why someone would eat fried food if it were so bad for him or her, but more of us might say that we understand because we know how tasty that fried chicken is. We also might say we know once you have had any deep fried food I is hard to pass on it the second time. Perhaps we avoided eating unhealthy food because we knew it was bad for us, but after you’ve done it once it is much easier to do it again. This same principle can be applied to violence, drugs, alcohol, and sex, the list goes on. Once you hit someone once, it is easier to do it a second time. We are harped on as we grow up from our parents and in school to not be violent, or do drugs and for certain people once they do it the first time it gets easier and easier to do again and again. So next time you are quick to judge why someone uses drugs or tends to be more violent think about how easy it was to pick up that drumstick, french fry, or cookie after you had it the first time. It doesn’t make any of these criminal things right, but it does help one to understand the mind frame around these difficult areas.

Be sure to check back next Wednesday afternoon to read more about Maegan’s internship experience!

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