Prison counseling firm aims to help inmates avoid harm

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The duo behind DeadEyes.NoLies Inc. provide support for those about to be released from prison.

Armed with knowledge and expertise, two residents of St. Alberta attempt to prevent unnecessary harm in Canadian correctional facilities by providing counseling and support services to current and future inmates.

Through their company, DeadEyes.NoLies Inc., Amy-Rae Goodman and Darin Edward share their first-hand experience of incarceration with clients seeking advice and guidance on what to expect when serving sentences and how they can stay safe.

The idea for the business was born from Edward, 41, who served more than 20 years in various correctional facilities, including an eight-year sentence for charges stemming from a series of robberies in 2003. The robberies included two St. Albert banks.

Goodman said starting the business was something Edward had “thought about for a little while but didn’t really know how to put it into action until recently.” The pair launched their business in February and were able to gradually build a clientele, Goodman said. Edward was unavailable for an interview.

Goodman said that over the years of incarceration, Edward witnessed many incidents of extreme violence among inmates that “could have been avoided if the person had more knowledge of how to conduct themselves”.

“[Edward] spent time in some of the most dangerous prisons in Canada and watched so many good people die or [be] maimed for something as small as having a television that was too loud at night”, Goodman. “He was just disgusted at his own inaction to make things a little better around him for other people.”

Goodman said she wouldn’t consider this kind of work easy, but she and Edward are driven by passion.

“We simply believe that the increasing number of unnecessary deaths and injuries suffered by those incarcerated due to ignorance shows that there is a real need for our services,” she said.

“Each of our potential clients will all look truly different based on their specific circumstances. We are truly committed to tailoring each individual’s plan based on our initial conversations with them, and no client will necessarily want or need of the same type of service.”

Prison counseling is more common in the United States, Goodman said, and there is only one other company offering such services in Canada. Based in Toronto, Ontario, Lee Steven Chapelle has been providing prison consulting services since 2010 through his company Canadian Prison Consulting Inc.

Release planning

Goodman and Edward do more than advise people on how to stay out of trouble while they are serving their sentence, they also offer support for those about to be released and reintegrated into their communities.

“The transition period from custody to the community can be particularly difficult for offenders and contributes to the stress that accompanies community supervision afterwards,” Goodman said.

“When a person re-enters the community from a correctional facility, they must consider the conditions of their release, pay attention to their health and find supports in the community, find suitable housing, find employment, maintain their family and social relationships, and these are just some of the main obstacles encountered when leaving prison.”

Another service offered by Goodman and Edward is to assist in the “cleaning up of online images” in an attempt to dilute online search results related to criminal activity, as these can negatively affect a person’s life. person after his release.

“That can definitely be a problem for some people,” Goodman said. “One thing we can do is request that certain articles be removed, and that doesn’t necessarily mean the editor will remove them, but it’s a step we’re taking.”

They also help create new social media accounts, encourage people to post frequently, and set up Google alerts for a person’s name to monitor their online presence.

DeadEyes.NoLies also offers to help families or loved ones understand the prison system and how they can support an incarcerated person, for example by adding money to their account or sending care packages.

Although they currently rely on word-of-mouth for clients, Goodman said “we plan to introduce our business services to lawyers…because the first person people come in contact with when they’ve been arrested is a lawyer.”

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