Reflections from NARSOL 2023

I was able to attend the 15th annual national conference of NARSOL June 22-25 in Houston.  It was last minute and I hesitated because I haven’t flown in about 25 years.  But, I put that aside because PARSOL asked and I wanted to represent them and network with others in order to better serve registrants. 

 The speakers were a wealth of knowledge and some rattled off so much information I couldn’t keep up with it so I am looking forward to watching the videos again on the NARSOL website.  There were three sessions running at a time and it was difficult to choose which ones to attend.

 It will be hard to write everything that I learned but here are some cliff notes:

  1. While making the most of your post-conviction life remember there is a difference between a photograph vs reflection.  A photograph is a snapshot of time and a reflection is live stream so focus on your reflection, assess your connections, and become the change you want to be.  Regarding the registry, any organization that is created out of fear must create fear to survive.
  2. We need spiritual rehabilitation.  Reawaken your purpose and ignite your passions when dealing with setbacks, adversity, or trauma.  As Mandela once said, “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
  3. Become a survivor scholar.  Look beyond the harm and toward justice, healing, and peace.
  4. When moving or traveling, find out the specifics about what a PFR has to do for compliance.
  5. Take inventory of your life … you have a plate, ladder, and circle.  List everything that is on your plate, prioritize your list by deadlines and importance, and decide what you can take off your plate.  Decide where you are on your ladder, why you put yourself on a particular rung, name three people who pull you up the ladder and why, and name three people who pull you down the ladder and want to see you fail.  Name three people in your circle and why they have the honor to be there and name three people who will not be allowed in your circle and why.  As with merchandise, your inventory will change over time.
  6. Self-care is important.  Don’t ask why is this happening to me; but why is this happening for me?  What can I learn from this?

 To sum it up … what can I take away from the conference?  There are some outrageous laws like civil commitment in Texas. PFRs are not alone because there are support groups to help. As with any conviction, it is just a part of your life but not who you are. There is hope and PARSOL, and other organizations are there to help you get through this season of your life.

 I have signed up for the early bird registration for the 2024 NARSOL conference in Atlanta, GA.  Hope to see you there!!!!

Written by 

Lisa M. Perry is Director of Second Chance Training Center in Aristes, Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee for PA State Parole, Northampton, Cumberland, Schuylkill, Lehigh, and Dauphin County Reentry Coalitions or Provider Networks, the Pennsylvania Re-Entry Coalition (PARC), and several other related organizations.

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