Life after Prison / Reentry

A Long-Awaited Visit to a Mother In Prison

I took a young man to visit his mother who is serving 36 years in Federal Prison. Jamilla, the mother, has been incarcerated for 15 years. Her son Carter is now 18 years old.

I was motivated to take Carter to visit his mom because over the past two years I have developed a bond with him and it has been painful to watch him suffer emotionally. Prior to this… Read more

Life after Prison / Reentry

Life in Transition: A Year after D.C. Bans the Box video

Video: View it here

 For an update on progress nationally, according to bantheboxcampaign.org:

“Campaign’s Success to Date: Today over 45 cities and counties, including New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, and San Francisco have removed the question regarding conviction history from their employment applications. Seven states, Hawai’i, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, have changed their hiring practices in public employment to reduce discrimination based on… Read more

Life after Prison / Reentry

Women, Re-entry and Everyday Life: Time to Work?

Yesterday I attended a training with the theme of women and reentry entitled, Women, Re-entry and Everyday Life: Time to Work? Dr. Venezia Michalsen facilitated the event. The training was based on a research study conducted by the Women’s Prison Association (WPA) to determine how the use of time after incarceration impacts reentry and employment for women. It was awesome. Dr. Michalsen was a magnificent speaker.

We learned about the impact of… Read more

Life after Prison / Reentry

My Experience With Unicor Prison Industries

The other day I was reflecting on my personal experience with Unicor Industries, better known as Prison factories. I worked in Unicor several times while I was incarcerated in FCI Danbury and earned enough money to purchase my own commissary items such as toiletries, stamps and snacks.

I never quite made enough with Unicor to save money, but I’ve heard of people saving thousands of dollars from working while serving lengthy… Read more

Life after Prison / Reentry

Coping with Mother’s Day When You Have Been Incarcerated

Around the time of Mother’s Day, I can’t help but reflect on my anti-social responses to such events. During my incarceration I learned to accept my inability to be with my family during special occasions. In fact, I became complacent, maybe even numb, about emotional needs that are often filled by spending time with loved ones.

I haven’t seen my mother in months. I haven’t even spoken to my three… Read more

Life after Prison / Reentry

Trauma in Prison and in Reentry

Yesterday I went into the Correctional Treatment Facility (C.T.F.) to meet with the women incarcerated there who are preparing for reentry. I met with about 30 women in two housing units to share information with them about the reentry support services available to them upon their release.

It was one of the most difficult challenges I have faced since I have been home from prison after my own incarceration. As… Read more

Life after Prison / Reentry

The Heart Break of a Child with a Parent in Prison

I know a young man named Carter who is 18 years old who lives in Chicago and his mother is in prison serving a LIFE sentence. She has been in prison most of his life. Even though he seems a little melancholy much of the time, for the most part he is a well-rounded individual. Carter doesn’t fit the stereotype of a child with a parent in prison.

I have… Read more

Life after Prison / Reentry

Women Serving LIFE Behind Bars

I had dinner with my God-Mother today. When I was incarcerated she was my prison mother. She practically raised me. She shared a website with me of a non-profit foundation known as CAN-DO. They advocate for clemency. “Honey the stories of these women will just make you want to cry” she said.

We looked at the site together, and as she scrolled through the content I saw pictures of beautiful… Read more