Sean was a tough prison inmate – a well-known and feared guy within the system. So why was a hardened guy like Sean scared for the first time in his life?

The answer –meeting real crime victims face-to-face. Because Sean was part of the Sycamore Tree Project.

This 8-week faith-based program brings crime victims into prison to meet with inmates. They talk about the effects of crime, the harm it causes and how to make amends.

Sean had been a drug dealer and thought his crimes had no victims. He excused his motives by saying, “Someone else is going to do this if I don’t, so I may as well do it.”  And he was very successful at it.

But meeting crime victims challenged Sean’s views. One lady talked to him about the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder, and how crime victims are often traumatised by their experience. After a few weeks in the program, Sean began to realise his crimes actually took a massive personal toll on people.

Through the program, he met people whose experiences as victims were caused by the drug trade… The primary motive for armed holdups and armed robberies was getting money to buy drugs from someone like Sean.

He could suddenly see that someone who had been in an armed holdup could be damaged for years. Sean began thinking seriously about his actions, and decided he needed to change.

Two years on, Sean is an advocate for Sycamore Tree in the prison system. He’s also about to become a mentor for inmates in the program.

Learn more about the Sycamore Tree Project by contacting the Prison Fellowship office in your State.