Michael Hill spends his days inside the Reno County Jail. He has been here for years. But these days, he gets to come and go as he pleases.
“I was never a bad person. But when I used drugs…you change,” Mike said.
Clean for 10 years now, Mike is a program director for the jail helping inmates fight their addictions because he knows what drives them to steal.
“It was all motivated towards the next high. ‘How am I going to get high?’ And, it didn’t matter [if it was] you, my friend Matt, my mother, even my children’s piggy bank, if there was money in it, it was gone, dad was going to take it,” Mike said.
Ex-thief and ex-addict Matt Griffin says he stole to fuel his addiction. But admits it was fun too.
“It got to the point where it was a rush, it was fun, it was the middle of the night, cars would come, and you could duck, dodge, dive,” Matt said.
For these two former addicts, stealing was a matter of convenience.
“When an addict [has his] mind made up, if it looks like that’s not going to work, he’s going someplace else,” Mike said.
Both men say, don’t make your belongings easy to steal.
“If you’re vulnerable, you’re vulnerable. If you leave your bike on the porch, expect something to happen to it,” Mike said.
And while they would look for “easy grabs” wherever they might be, Matt said he would be willing to take a road trip.
“When I would go out looking in vehicles, I wanted to go where I knew money was. I’m not going to look in vehicles in a poor part of town. It makes no sense. And the only vehicles I would get into, are the ones that were unlocked. I wouldn’t break windows,” Matt said.
Matt gets his thrills these days from mentoring men at Oxford Houses. The goal here is to stay clean of drugs and alcohol. And, keeping them from adding to statistics showing drugs and alcohol play factors in the majority of crimes.
“I spent four years in prison and they were all over auto burglaries, breaking into cars,” Matt said.
Now, his focus is about making amends. Mike is on the same path too.
“There’s some people you’ll never be able to make amends with, but somewhere on the sidelines, they see myself and Matt really trying to make a difference and … that guy did that, but I can really see his heart now and I forgive him,” Mike said.
In our “Home Security Survey,” the convicted criminals who explained drugs or alcohol motivated them… also expressed remorse. They also said that they went into such detail filling-out our survey because they want to help others.