PODCAST: From criminal to TV host
THERE is a big argument for the validity of our prison system. Does it really promote rehabilitation?
One look at Jeff Morgan and the answer is a resounding yes.
Jeff ran away from his family home at 12 and turned to a life of petty crime and robbing banks.
He spent many years behind bars and in that time, he completed a university degree.
Jeff shares a coffee chat with Matt Collins and they discuss the work he does mentoring indigenous people and as an advocate for indigenous health and he stars in a fitness and health show on NITV.
Listen to the full interview with Jeff Morgan on the podcast link below:
Matt Collins: Let's talk about your growing up.
Jeff Morgan: I ran away from home at 12. I thought my father was being too strict, but as it turned out he was just being a good father.
MC: Where did you run away to?
JM: I went to live with my mum in Redfern. She was an alcoholic at the time and the people I hung out with there weren't very nice people.
MC: How so?
JM: They were making money through drugs and criminal activity. I made some crazy choices over a long period of time.
MC: Just how bad did it get after you ran away?
JM: It started out with minor things. My brother and I would break into canteens and steal food and drinks. But it got to a point where I was involved in a couple of bank robberies.
MC: When you had the first inkling of being involved in an armed bank robbery, was there any part of your conscious that said 'This isn't a good idea'?
JM: Honestly, no to be honest with you Matt. I think we lived in such harsh conditions that for us it seemed perfectly normal.
MC: Tell me about your time in prison.
JM:I was lucky to be mentored by some people who saw a better life for me.
So I was able to complete a university degree whilst I was locked up.
MC: You did a degree in jail?
JM: Yeah, a Bachelor of Health Promotion.
MC: That's fantastic, so what was the plan for you once you were released?
JM: Well, I realised that the Indigenous community were experiencing a number of health issues. I could see the negative lifestyle choices they were making and I wanted to help.
MC: This is obviously tied into you hosting a healthy living TV show on NITV?
JM: Yeah, it has been massive to transition and give back to society after I have done so much damage and taking away from society.
MC: Let's talk about that, have you ever had the opportunity to address the victims of your crimes?
JM: Only when I have been in court being sentenced. But I would love to sit down with every person I have impacted and let them know how sorry I am and just what I am doing these days to help.
MC: If one of the victims was standing with you right now what would you say to them?
JM: I'd say that unfortunately the lessons I learnt growing up were the wrong ones and I understand now that we impact not only ourselves but our families and those around us. Psychologically I understand that it would have done a lot of damage that can not be reversed.
MC: What I get from our chat today Jeff, is that you are truly sorry.
JM: Yeah, I am. But I don't think sorry is a good enough word. Whatever I can do to help my victims try to get back what they lost I am happy to be involved in that process. No matter how long that takes.
MC: Let's talk about your fitness journey, what big goals do you have coming up?
JM: Well, along with my television series and the people I train, I have applied for next year's Australian Ninja Warrior show so I am busy training for that with some of this year's finalists who I am friends with.
MC: All the best with it Jeff and well done.