Incarceration and the Cycle of Recidivism

I had an interesting conversation with my cousin who was recently released from incarceration. This was his second prison term and he says that this time he plans to stay home. I was curious as to how it must feel to be released from incarceration and return a short while later. The embarrassment and shame must be difficult to handle. … more

Stiffer Surveillance of Violent Offenders On Parole in DC

Muriel Bowser, the Mayor of Washington, DC, is in the process of laying out plans to stop what is said to be a spike in crime in the District of Columbia. The Mayor and at least two City Council Members have called for implementing policies that will call for searches of the homes where Returning Citizens are living as well as their vehicles. These searches will not require warrants. … more

Sex Offenders Get a Bad Rap, But Are They All Criminals?

Prison reform and reentry seem to be the hottest topics these days. Some people believe that criminal justice concerns are the civil rights issue of the new millennium. There are countless advocates, activists and practitioners working on behalf of target populations that have been touched by the criminal justice system. Interestingly not many people are talking about the elephant in the room…. sex offenders. … more

Searching for Employment After Incarceration

Yesterday I met with a woman who is looking for a job after incarceration. She explained to me that she was arrested for assaulting her husband who was abusing her. She served three years in prison for defending herself when she could no longer take the regular beatings. I asked her if she had a record of the abuse with the local police department. She said, “No, I was always afraid to call the police.” Now she is in her transition from incarceration to reintegration. … more

Free Her Conference

Recently I participated in the Free Her Conference: Gender Responsive Criminal Justice Reform in Boston, Massachusetts at Harvard University Law School. It was a mindboggling experience, organized by Families for Justice as Healing. Women from all over the U.S. came out to share information about gender specific criminal justice reform. … more

Visiting Loved Ones in Prison

This month I was privileged to help facilitated a visitation trip to FCC Hazelton. The Federal Correctional Complex Hazelton has three facilities that house maximum security men, medium security men and medium security women. Over 70 family members boarded two busses to take the three-hour drive from Washington, DC to visit their loved ones who are incarcerated in Brucetonmills, West Virginia. It was bitter sweet for me. … more

Disclosing a Criminal Past

Yesterday, on Thursday, July 9th at 7:00pm, I participated in a special program with a local radio and television station, WHUR, HUR-Voices, and WHUT-TV. We had a thought provoking conversation about how to combat youth violence. The panel discussion entitled, ‘Not One More’ provided me with an opportunity to share my personal experiences as a rebellious youth who committed some very serious violent crimes at the age of 19. … more

The Stigma of Prison, from the Gavel to the Grave

I went to Hawaii for vacation last week. That place is everything I dreamed it would be. I loved the blue water and the Aloha spirit that emanated all round me, but something upsetting happened there I wanted to share with you. I have served my time and completed my parole stipulations, yet I am still threatened by the sting of stigma, and this followed me to Hawaii. … more