Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Drunk driving crash shattered woman's life

Drinking and driving may seem okay to do at the time and people may shrug and say "I arrived home safe and no one was hurt, so why not do it?" But, when you put those keys in and turn the ignition, you are not only putting your life in danger, but the lives of those around you too!

Read on below to learn the shocking story of how drinking and driving shattered a woman's life forever... This is Jessica Rasdall's story...

"Laura and I had been inseparable since we were five years old. Physically, we couldn't have been more different. She was tall and willowy with straight blond hair; I was short with dark, curly hair. But growing up together, we loved the same music, watched the same movies and shared a similar sense of humour. We went to different universities that were nearby, stayed best friends and worked part-time together at a local restaurant.
One evening I came home from work, ready for an early night. Until Laura called. "Come over," she pleaded. It was Saturday night, so I didn't need much convincing. I drove my Honda Civic to her halls of residence. We'd planned to go to a party on her campus but then decided to go clubbing. We cranked up the music while we got ready; laughing and taking silly photos of each other.

Laura's car was being repaired, so I drove to the nightclub 40 minutes away. Once inside, we were served with drinks, even though we were under the official age limit of 21. We ordered two vodka and Red Bulls and were also handed a shot – a mix of whisky, apple schnapps and cranberry juice. I've replayed those few minutes over in my head a million times since. Why did I accept those drinks, knowing I had to drive home? I didn't think it would be enough to affect me. By the time Laura and I left the club at 3am, after dancing for nearly four hours, I felt sober. It didn't occur to me, or Laura, that I might be unfit to drive.

On the way home, we had the radio blasting, and we were singing and laughing. That's my last memory of Laura. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the driver's seat. The car was crumpled around me, the shattered windscreen inches from my face, which was sticky with blood. Looking over to the passenger seat I saw a blond woman, her face turned away from me. I had no idea who she was. "Are you OK?" I cried. She didn't respond. I tried to open my door, but it was jammed shut. "Help me," I screamed before passing out.

When I came round, there was a paramedic kneeling by my window. I couldn't understand why there were lots of people fussing around me but no one was helping the other girl. They cut the roof off my car, and pulled me from the wreckage. There was a massive gash in my head, and my left ear had been almost severed. I was rushed to hospital, where I heard a police officer describing a purse he'd found at the scene. "That's my best friend's bag," I exclaimed, and memory flooded back. "Is she OK?" I asked, and a police officer broke the news.

Mum tried to comfort me, but I was hysterical. "I killed her," I screamed. I have no memory of the crash, but apparently my car veered off the road and skidded down a slope, smashing into a tree. Although we were both wearing seatbelts, the roof had caved in, killing Laura instantly.

A blood sample taken at the time showed I was nearly one and a half times over the legal limit. I was released from hospital on my 19th birthday, the day of Laura's funeral. I desperately wanted to say goodbye to my best friend, but her parents told me I wasn't welcome. I apologised over and over, but they couldn't forgive me. I didn't blame them – I couldn't forgive myself either.

One month after the accident, I was charged with manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol. I pleaded not guilty. I wanted to accept responsibility for my part in Laura's death, but didn't see how anything could be gained by sending me to prison. Laura's parents disagreed and lobbied for me to receive a custodial sentence of up to 15 years.

Over the next two years, while waiting for my trial to start, I began speaking to schools and community groups about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. I needed to know Laura's memory was being kept alive and that something positive was coming from her death. Finally, in May 2008, I accepted a plea bargain of four years in prison, followed by two years probation.

I miss Laura so much – I know she paid the ultimate price and I have the rest of my life ahead of me. But I have to wake up every morning without my best friend, and the devastating knowledge that I killed her. That's my life sentence."

Today, Jessica is Motivational Speaker and Transformational Coach to female business owners. She helps her clients unearth their signature story, tap into their inner strength and evoke radical change.
NICRO is committed to turning lives around - make a difference in your life or someone else's life and contact NICRO today! 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Stop Your Addiction to Stealing by Identifying the Problem

Some people steal once or twice in their lives, while others can't stop themselves from stealing things on a regular basis. It seems that in today's society, stealing has become a regular thing.

Some people steal because they do not have money to buy things themselves, but others are addicted and love the thrill! Stealing leads to serious punishment, such as being thrown in jail and ending up with a criminal record. 

Stealing is still not thought of as an addiction, however when you think about it Kleptomania is a control disorder that may leave you feeling guilty. So, stealing should infact be identified as an addiction.

If you want to deal with the problem of stealing, you first have to identify the problem, look for help, change your thoughts and educate yourself.

1. Understand that you deserve help. It is important to know that you are worthy because many individuals with guilt (including shame about stealing) may not believe that they deserve help. This often prevents them from seeking assistance. You do deserve help and understanding, and you are not alone. NICRO is a non-profit organization that is committed to turning lives around – contact NICRO today and we can help you!

2. Define your stealing behaviours. It is important to first identify the specific reasons why you steal in order to begin to change this behaviour.
  •  Do you steal for an emotional high? Do you feel initial tension, then a thrill of excitement that builds up prior to the theft and relief after it's done? Is this then followed by feeling guilt, shame and remorse? These are some signs that stealing may be a problem for you.
  •  Do you steal to escape? When stealing, do you feel different, as if you're not yourself or you're not in touch with reality? This is a fairly common state of feeling for individuals who steal.

3. Write out your feelings. After you've discovered what drives your stealing behaviours, try free writing about your need to steal. Don't censor your feelings – everything you think about or feel is important to note.

Be sure to name the feelings, such as anger, fear, sadness, loneliness, being creeped out, exposed, vulnerable, etc. that accompany the need to steal.

4. Determine the consequences. Thinking about the consequences of your behaviours can help to reduce impulsivity. If you have been nearly caught, or have been caught (or caught several times), write all of this down. Also write down your own subsequent feelings, such as shame and guilt, and the actions you use to try to cope with these feelings or remorse or disgust, such as drinking too much, destroying the things you've stolen, or other destructive actions.

If you have been caught, how strong were the accompanying feelings? Why do you feel that even being caught isn't enough to overcome the need to steal? Write it all down.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Shoplifting, Stealing, and Theft: A First Time Offense

Just about anything and everything can be shoplifted, from jewellery, alcohol and cheese to medicine and cleaning products. There is no specific item that is shoplifted, however there is always a price to pay.

Shoplifting is a complicated crime though, and because of this, if you are caught shoplifting you should always contact your lawyer and work with them to solve the problem:

1. What is the value of the item or items that you stole?

2. Were you intoxicated when the incident occurred?

3. Do the items indicate that you have a drug problem?

4. Did you involve others in a plan to steal the items? If so, how many people? Were any of them minors, people with mental health issues, people with developmental disabilities, or people who were elderly?

5. Were you stopped by a security officer or store merchants who tried to recover the items? What happened as a result of that interaction?

6. Were you caught on videotape, or on another type of recording device, such as audio tape?

7. What is your criminal history?

8. Can you pay back the merchant right away? This may encourage them to decline to testify against you.

Even if this is your first offense, you can be charged with a felony. For example, if you have stolen a 24-karat gold chain, or a child was involved in the act, you will not be offered the same plea bargain as a person alleged of slipping a pack of mints into their pocket.

The first thing you should do is ask your attorney to talk to the merchant. See if the merchant will accept payment in return to drop the charges. Have you been charged with a criminal offence? Let NICRO help you out during this tough time, we can offer a wide range of services to you, just click here.

You may be offered the chance to participate in a NICRO diversion programmme. A diversion programmme is a type of plea bargain. In this program, you usually complete community service hours and pay the court a fine. You are also instructed not to commit another alleged offense for a set period.
If you get a second charge, especially for shoplifting, it is extremely unlikely that you will get a second chance to participate in a diversion program.

If the public prosecutor or judge decides not to offer you the chance to participate in a diversion program, you need to decide whether you want to challenge the accusations in a trial or take a plea bargain. If you were intoxicated at the time of the incident, or the items that you took indicate that you have a drug problem, consider contacting NICRO to take part in one of their many helpful programmes or seek help from a counsellor. The charges may be dropped if you are taking action to avoid a similar situation.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Dangers of Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a serious crime which happens when a driver doesn't follow the regular rules of the road, often resulting in a car accident.

It does not only mean driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but also driving carelessly and improperly. Reckless driving also includes driving while trying to text, eat, drink or reach something.

In order to avoid reckless driving, you need to take the time to be careful and follow all the necessary rules of the road.

Never ever drive while you are distracted. You cant pay attention to your cellphone, a child screaming in the backseat or your cheeseburger all at the same time! It is against the law to chat on your cellphone while you are driving a car, why? Because every year it causes millions of fatal accidents and serious injuries.

Despite the fact that you will be seriously punished if you are caught driving recklessly, people still do it everyday... A lot of drivers choose to ignore the rules of the road and continue to drive unsafely.

Speeding, weaving in between traffic, drinking and driving, tailgating and distracted driving are all common types of reckless driving. Every single one of these things can cause a serious car crash.

A number of people including pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and passengers in other vehicles can be involved and stand a high chance of being affected by reckless driving. No one is safe since a reckless driver can even crash into the side of a building or someone's home and cause property owners to suffer the consequences.

Road accidents generally can bring serious medical injuries, like getting permanent fractures on any part of the body, excessive blood loss leading to death, emotional trauma, broken bones, spinal cord injuries and infection.

When a reckless driver causes an accident or hits an innocent pedestrian, they pay the full price.

NICRO is committed to turning lives around, why not do your part and donate or contact NICRO today!

Friday, 1 July 2016

Ending the Epidemic of Youth Gun Violence

Something that occurs amoungst our youth more often than it should is the issue and violence and gun violence. Over the last decade or so, the world has seen more and more mass shootings, with tragedies happening on a daily basis.

We know that teens love to live on the edge. The reason they love dangerous and risky behaviour all goes back to their developing brain, peer pressure and their longing feeling to belong to something. In the past no one really took it serious, often saying "kids will be kids", but as time goes by we see that this type of violent behaviour has become more of a common thing that is causing havoc in our communities.

The key to understanding the situation, may be the fact that illegal guns and weapons are becoming more and more easy to obtain, causing fights and confrontations to turn into fatal acts. Back in the earlier years, fist fights would rarely ever result in deaths, but with guns so easily available, each time a violent episode occurs a young person's life could be ruined forever.

The sadness and grief that families feel when they have lost a loved one cannot even be imagined by those have never experienced it. However the victim's family is not the only ones who are effected. The criminal's family have lost a life that could have been great, without jail time, but because of gun violence it has become a lifelong punishment.

So what can we do to stop this bleeding from youth violence and homicide?

The prime time for the youth to commit violent acts is after school and usually before midnight. In the hours after school, there is enough time for a teen to take drugs, drink alcohol, engage in gang activity and commit violent acts.

The insulation afforded by today's interpersonal communication channels, such as texting and social media, also likely carries over to the realm of violence. Having to injure someone by hand may make the situation real; having a gun to psychologically distance one’s psyche from the consequence may make pulling the trigger easier in times of boredom and hopelessness.

Getting teens into programs that don't offer unstructured free time, where they can be active with adult supervision and exposed to positive adult role models, may help mind the gap during the high-risk time of day. NICRO is a non-profit organisation committed to turning the lives of our youth around. NICRO offers a variety of services and programmes that deal with young offenders and parents who are in need of some help.

Funding NICRO and these types of programmes may be a quicker step. Starting youth into these programmes before they have gone down a road of violent behaviour has the best chance of keeping them on the straight and narrow. As has been stated by others, it is easier and less expensive to build a child than to rebuild a teen who has strayed into high-risk and violent behaviour.

Society must, to some degree, take on the role of collective parenting, with each member taking some responsibility for supporting all of our children, not just the ones who live in our own house. A return to the models of old might just have some new outcomes.

Youth should not be ending up in graves or prison cells. They have so much talent and promise to bring to society, as well as energy and excitement that when properly channelled, could guide the future in a positive way.