SRV in the News – May 18, 2012
Recently in Canada, there has been a media sensation over the release of former media baron and still-writer and columnist Conrad Black from an American prison (where he was serving time for various white-collar crimes). On May 4th, despite having renounced his citizenship in 2001, Black arrived in Canada a free man, on a 1 year temporary resident permit.
Black’s situation highlights several relevant SRV points, including; the protective capacity of one’s held or formerly held valued roles. Black is well known as a former media-mogul, corporate executive, and as mentioned is still well-known as a respected biographer and newspaper columnist. These roles, several of which he was able to retain during his prison stay, provided a defense for him against various wounds that other people in the devalued role of prisoner often endure. While other prisoners are often stripped of their valued roles while serving their sentences, Black was able to hold on to his role of writer and even continue working.
As often stated in SRV workshops and by Wolfensberger himself, money is a defense against wounding and devalued roles. Purportedly, Black flew to Canada in a private jet, pointing to the fact that he still holds a significant amount of wealth. The impoverishment of devalued people is often ignored, but as Wolfensberger has pointed out, it is often the one unifying feature of devalued people in general; whatever other devaluing condition they may have, they are also poor. Money may be the simplest way in which to help devalued persons defend themselves against further wounding.
Interestingly, it seems that while in prison, Black had time for reflection and began to identify with his fellow prisoners. He likely saw himself as being like his fellow prisoners and gained a better understanding of the injustices that they faced. In SRV terms we refer to this as “interpersonal identification”. It is often mentioned in SRV workshops that the biggest advocates of prison reform are often prominent persons who previously would not have given the issue much thought, but after spending time in prison and identifying with their fellow prisoners, are released convinced that things need to change. Black, a prominent citizen, has spent time in prison and is now actively championing prison reform.
As well, see this more recent article.
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: Conrad Black, interpersonal identification, prison, Social Role Valorization, SRV, Wolf Wolfensberger