How City Revitalization Impacts Returning Citizens After Prison

Would you believe it if I told you I’m still trying to find my way around the city where I was born and raised, even though I was released two and a half years ago?

Thank God for the GPS system. I’m convinced that one of the impacts of incarceration is a distorted sense of direction. Maybe it all boils down to my inability to concentrate. There have been times when I have went some place, stayed for a few hours and by the time I leave I have no idea how to get home.

Related: How to use a GPS

Some might say, “Just go the way you came,” but for me, that’s easier said than done, when I can’t seem to remember how I got to my destination in the first place. It’s as if I’m driving mindlessly.

A lot has changed in the city. I was away for almost two decades. Since I have returned, I have realized old neighborhoods have vanished while new ones were developed.

One day I was in a neighborhood where I grew up and I didn’t even know it until somebody told me. The city is truly in the process of undergoing a makeover. It feels good to see D.C. revitalized and prospering.

Now if only I can get the courage to get out more and just get re-acquainted with my city. The old H Street is now the hub for the nightlife. It also has a trolley car scheduled to be in operation soon.

Diversity is on the rise and it’s crucial that I get myself out of this box where I drive to and from work and school and begin to experience the city to its fullest.

This will very likely help me improve my sense of direction and help me release the grips of institutionalization.

You might be interested in: Troubled by Fear of Driving?

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About Lashonia Etheridge-Bey

Lashonia Etheridge-Bey is a Public Speaker who can candidly and articulately speak to the consequences of youth violence, the effects of incarceration and the challenges of reentry into society. Read Lashonia's Full BIO Here 


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