Public Perceptions and Re-Entry: How Society Views Criminals Who They Don’t Know Personally

Last week I took my car to the dealer on my lunch break. It was making a weird noise. After discovering that my fan belt needed to be replaced, I got nervous. I only get 30 minutes for lunch. I asked the office manager at the dealership to allow me to use the telephone to call my boss and tell him I might be out a bit longer. When I hung up the phone we got into a conversation about the work I do with men and women returning from incarceration. As I began to Continue reading

Education in Prison and its impact on Returning Citizens

Many years ago people in prison were eligible to receive a college education. Then, one day someone saw fit to outlaw such luxuries. Education was considered a privilege not to be enjoyed by individuals incarcerated for committing crimes.  As a result, educational funding was cut and state programs that offered higher education to people in prison were eliminated. Continue reading

Now That I am Out Of Prison, When Will I Stop Feeling Caged?

It’s a new year, and I’ve been home for two years now, yet I still find myself unable to sit with myself. I still don’t go home until I know I’m exhausted and ready for bed. I still feel like an energizer bunny every time my feet hit the floor in the morning. When is it gonna end? I keep telling myself that this will change when I move into a larger space. Right now the space I’m living in is small. It’s cozy, but there’s not much space to move around. In fact, it’s one room. When I move, I plan to create an oasis in my “living room.” I want candles burning, fresh flowers permeating, soft music playing, and Continue reading

I’m Not Who I Use To Be

On Christmas Day I had the opportunity to see one of my sisters for the first time in over two decades. She lives three hours away from where I am based in Washington, DC. I never saw her while I was incarcerated, and even though I was released in 2011, she was not able to come to see me until now. When she walked into my mom’s house, I screamed, hugged her and asked jokingly, “Where have you been all my life?” She replied Continue reading

Rebuilding Bonds After Incarceration: Things Are Nothing Like We Imagined They Would Be

My daughter was three years old when I became incarcerated. By the time I was released she was 21 years old. I think we both had illusions about how things would be when I came home. I thought I would be spending all of my spare time with my children. I thought I would be babysitting my grandchildren and maybe even living with my children. I thought we would get to know one another and build a bond for once in our lives. To my surprise I Continue reading

Imagine!

Imagine you are abducted into a cult, you wake up the next day with a whole new set of norms and rules to follow, you don’t know anyone around you, and everyone is dressed alike. You find yourself enclosed in a small community with a school and a church on the compound. What if you stayed there for years then, one day, someone opened the gate to the community you were living in and Continue reading

Being Ready To Change

More times than I can count I have been asked, “To what do you attribute your successful Reentry?”  I think people see me as the exception to the rule so they expect some extraordinary response. The fact of the matter is that my successful rehabilitation while incarcerated has led to my successful reintegration into society. My Creator deserves the Glory for enabling me to grow, change and reform to the extent that I have. It was no coincidence that I Continue reading