FORMER Kettering Town player Leon McKenzie believes he was made an example of by the justice system after being jailed for six months for motoring offences.
Mr McKenzie, who was jailed in February for sending bogus letters to police to avoid a driving ban, says he has turned his life around.
The Northampton resident wants to increase the work he does with the Professional Footballers Association in counselling players for depression, a condition which led him to attempt suicide in 2009.
He said: “It’s done now, it’s in the past. The support I got when I went inside was very soothing for me and it was nice to be appreciated for getting through the problems I’ve had.
“Unfortunately the judge didn’t see that.
“He had to go by the law.
“If he had lived in ‘the real world’, so to speak, and taken into account the character references I had and everything else, maybe it could have gone another way.
“I was definitely made an example of.
“You get people who do what I did all the time.”
Mr McKenzie, who served about eight weeks of his sentence, says it was not prison which turned him around – but during the time period between the offences and custodial sentence.
He said: “I’ve taken something away from prison but I do think me going in there was a waste of time.
“Before I went there I had already progressed in my life.
“The offences took place two years ago and the state I was in then clouded my judgement.”