Life After Release means more than some may see when reading this blog. I am a fraction of the true gravity that these posts represent by concept, a mere example of the thousands of returning citizens who reenter society each year who face unimagined circumstances.
Today I’m at a local park enjoying the cooler weather as Fall approaches.
I was blessed with seeing a deer crossing the paved path upon which I walked snapping photos and taking videos on a device that did not exist before my arrest on August 18, 1988, a smartphone.
Yesterday, I learned not to trust or depend on Air/Vac machines to work. At $1.50 each attempt to check and inflate my tires, and at three locations, I succeeded at getting three of my four tires properly inflated.
I ran out of quarters!
One definition of “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
Well, I must be a little off in the head because I could have pulled into a Goodyear or PepBoys and not have dealt with thieving Air/Vac machines, but I chose to do it, not once, but three times before pulling into a Goodyear shop to get air in the fourth tire, and it was free. 🤠
More will be revealed. Right now I need to ZOOM-IN to a Twelve Step Meeting on the other side of the United States.
Isn’t life grand with so much technology? Speaking of the such, now I am doing affiliate marketing on WonderfulThingsDone.
In my quest to become an affiliate marketer, of which I receive a small commission from any sale of a product or service I promote, I stumbled upon Freight Broker Boot Camp, and was impressed when I could not find any negative customer responses or complaints against the company.
Then I began to wonder if convicted felons could become a licensed freight broker because I know and have known several men who were released and then found jobs as truck drivers, and so I thought, why not become a freight broker if it pays well?
Driving a truck takes a lot of time and energy and may be more difficult for an elderly returning citizen, or for some, not all, convicted felons to do because of restrictions imposed as a condition of supervised release, probation or parole.
That would eliminate an opportunity that may help him or her secure employment or to otherwise find a lawful occupation to help stay out of jail or prison.
Finding and scheduling a load for a trucker to haul is easier and may become an overall, more lucrative occupation.
In some cases state laws may control whether a convicted felon can get a surety bond, but the short answer was YES when I added this question in the Google Search engine: “can convicted felons be freight brokers?”
“Yes. having a felony does not mean you can’t apply or be granted a freight brokers license from the FMCSA. You need ONLY to be a VALID US Resident.”
Jobs for Felons also supports that answer and goes into more detail about the process one must go through to start a business as a freight broker.
The above answers made me feel better about promoting Freight Broker Boot Camp, which appears to cover every aspect of going into that line of work and received a lot of great reviews by students.
For $185 right now, and the potential to turn the knowledge gained into a lucrative business, is a good deal for anyone willing to put forth the time and energy to learn the process in thirty-days, and then apply it towards becoming an independent business owner.
Note: The only affiliate link is to the Freight Broker Boot Camp
My past I leave behind as I churn my way into a brighter future, but I cannot forget from where I came because it consumes too much space inside my head. How can anyone forget decades spent inside a cage with thousands of other men, all living in the Insane World of Incarceration in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons?
Never Forget: September 11, 2001, is a day America cannot forget because each year the media reminds its citizens of the day terrorist used jets to attack the World Trade Center in New York City.
Cannot Forget: I cannot forget because I walked the tiers at the United States Federal Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana when the attack occurred, which is the way my brain works (by associating events with my location at the time of occurrence).
Positive Thinking: Though I cannot forget such events and my life inside the prison system, I choose not to allow those thoughts to influence my behavior in a negative manner. I prefer the positive. Had I not been sentenced to prison for the crimes committed on June 21, 1988, I would not be alive today or would have committed even worst crimes if not arrested and put in a cage, which I wrote about in The Price of Change, an essay in one of my books.
In Fence Rows and The Price of Change, I write about a person those who know me today does not see because I am not the same person because I changed my life seven years into a 420-month federal sentence for armed bank robbery and associated charges. Both essays are in the eBook and paperback sold on Amazon Essays & More Straight from the Penor separately as an eBook at Smashwords.com, originally published by Midnight Express Books.
Excerpt from The Price of Change
I started this sentence in 1988. The fear of prison had left many years before I decided to change. After a while one becomes accustomed to the insane ways of incarceration and the depravations included in prison life. Shutting down emotions helped me cope with the murders and acts of brutality I was exposed to as part of being in prison. I continued to shoot dope and live a miserable existence until 1993 when I sought help through the prison Psychology department at the penitentiary in Atlanta. I had to learn how to be intimate with others. Trusting others was difficult because so many people proved themselves untrustworthy, so I built walls to keep people out. To recover, I tore down the walls and shared the secrets of the soul. It took over a year of therapy for me to make noticeable progress, but I ultimately succeeded in learning how to live with myself without using drugs and alcohol, which I have done since April 5, 1995.
Today, I use my experiences to help others recover and can accept myself; character defects included and have come to terms with my past: it’s overdone with. I can’t change it. I can be a better person by treating others the way I want to be treated, and not the way I may feel they deserve to be treated. If I’m being judgmental of others, which I often am, I think about the biblical parable of the adulterer whom some wanted to stone, and Jesus Christ saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” and I know I cannot throw any rocks. My ego says I am better than those I wish to judge, but reality says we are all the same—flawed human beings. By accepting others, I can accept myself, flaws, and all.
Another process was praying for people I resented—without making suggestions about what I thought was deserved. Then I became willing to make amends to those I had harmed as suggested in twelve-step programs, and then to forgive others and myself. In a sense, the way I live my life today is one way I make amends to those I cannot make amends to for whatever reason prevents it. An example of my living amends is in this: when I was at a penitentiary in Lompoc, California, I stole loaf bread and bought Ramen Noodle Soups to feed the birds. Some of my friends would come by and joke with me about feeding the birds because of the process that follows feeding them. I often said, “I’m making amends to the ancestors of birds I killed when I was a kid.” And then I would laugh, but I was serious; furthermore, I enjoyed feeding them, as I enjoy the relationships often restored as the result of making amends.
I wish I could honestly write that I no longer experience resentments or anger, but I cannot. I’m still human. However, whenever I experience anger or resentment, I know what to do to find relief: look within myself as I write in my journal. When appropriate, I share it with another person, and when the situation requires it, take the right course of action that coincides with living my life in harmony with the Universe. As a result, I rarely have conflicts.
I am now a model prisoner with a good reputation amongst most staff and prisoners alike. More importantly, I’m loved by my family and friends and am a good human being, which is a priceless gift that I never thought I deserved. People actually like me these days. The price I paid to get here was tough, but it took what it took. And by the way, “here” means alive, not in prison. Prison is just the place my body resides for the time being.
Speaking of prison, as a matter of principle, I really should not be in prison, but the law is such that if a person fails to jump through the hoops at the proper time, any violation of the law made by the government no longer matters. They call it procedural default to avoid addressing issues in the name of the administration of justice, and since habeas corpus laws changed drastically in 1996 to make it more difficult for a person to obtain relief without satisfying extremely stringent standards, very few ever succeed at obtaining relief through the courts. Spiritually though, I know I am right where I need to be. Had I have won my case, I would most likely be dead by now; therefore, I am grateful for the way things turned out, mostly.
My worst enemy looked me in the face every time I looked into a mirror.
In Breaking News, I wrote about a variety of issues related to reentry, including recidivism, and the lovely Kim Kardashian standing beside President Donald Trump in the Oval Office inside the White House, after she had assisted Alice M. Johnson with having her federal sentence commuted.
To prepare myself for release and to do what I believed would assist me in obtaining employment upon release, I took a program called WorkKeys that gauges a person’s ability to apply textbook knowledge in the workplace. In other words, a GED or High School Education or College, gives a person a knowledge base.
From my limited understanding, WorkKeys tests a person’s ability to take that knowledge and to apply it in practical situations, as well as to demonstrate his or her ability to solve problems by comprehending written or implied instructions to accomplish a goal. Whatever the case may be, I first scored Gold Certification and then returned to be retested because Gold wasn’t good enough for me.
I wanted and received Platinum Certification!
My certificate verifies that Platinum certification shows that those who receive it have “Skills for 99% of the jobs in ACT’s extensive database”; however, when I walked out of the prison doors with a plan to secure employment by demonstrating my vast amount of accomplishments and skill sets, and a high Grade Point Average in college, none of the things I had accomplished meant anything in regards to getting hired.
On June 17, 2017, my publisher posted my blog, Seeking a Real Job. I wrote it to help others find employment, with a firm conviction that I would not have a problem finding a job because of my education and skill sets. I was wrong!
Since I walked in the prison doors at the age of thirty-one and out of the doors in my sixties, I failed to understand that Age was my enemy, a factor beyond my control.
I posted my resume online with several job sites (Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, Jobcase, Career Builder, etc.). Job recruiters called often. Many of the recruiters literally hung up the phone after I responded to questions relating to my age.
My criminal history never entered the equation.
During the job seeking process while at Dismas Charities, a Residential Reentry Center in Atlanta, an employment counselor at the Georgia Department of Labor suggested I dumb-down my resume and said I was overqualified for most jobs available through them, and that I should start my own business.
Eleven months later, Goodwill of North Georgia hired me as an Environmental Service Technician, which is a long name for a janitor or custodian.
Three months after being given a chance, I was Employee of the Month, and then on the following month, I was featured online in the November 2019, Goodwill Employee Spotlight.
The pay was not providing what I needed to survive on my own. I liked my job because I saw it as a way to help keep customers and employees safer by keeping the environment sanitary.
But on a more personal level, I NEEDED more money to prepare for my future. A few months later, I saw an internal job opportunity that paid a lot more. I applied and was hired as a floor technician and though I work like an Alaskan Malamute, I do get paid more and have better hours.
Business: On my days and time off from that position, I work on a business I started one year ago today, on September 11, 2019.
Now I am investing in the stock market and am working on building affiliate marketing websites to earn money by referring others to quality products and services.
Financial Success Shines Ahead!
My plans for getting involved in an intimate relationship are still pending. I’ve had opportunities but turned them down; others who I was interested in turned me down, well, kind of. To get involved in an intimate relationship probably requires asking someone out for a date or at least a Roll in the Sack, but …. I only played around with that aspect of romance.
I got what I had coming by rejecting a couple of cougars who were stalking me: What Goes Around Comes Around!
The truth is that I know I need to focus more on building a financial future, and unless I were to find that special someone who would be an asset in that endeavor, an intimate relationship would be distracting because I’d want to spend more time with her than working toward becoming financially secure.
Regarding my children and familial relationships, those haven’t worked according to plan either, but … I know that everything is working according to God’s will for my life.
The most important thing is that I have remained free and am in good health. I continue to live my life without using mind-altering substances and strive towards building that bright future I KNOW God has in store for me, one day at a time.
Everything else will fall into place when it is time for me to step into another life. Going for a ride on a pontoon sounds like a great idea, too, so I can watch the water churn behind the boat as we head towards our happy destiny.
A proudly posted photo of the drug screen results as seen on Facebook, along with the following caption:
Living Clean and Sober has its Benefits. Those tiny bottles once caused me lots of stress! They also lead to me going to the hole (segregated housing unit) on more than one occasion, over 25-years ago.
I am grateful for the life I am blessed with living today that does not include the use of mind-altering substances, unless a person wants to include caffeine into that category. I do drink coffee but that’s better than other substances I used to think I could not live without.
Today I am free because I gave up my former behaviors that kept me locked in cages away from the civilized society.
If I can do it so can anyone else who makes the decision to change their lives, one day at a time.
While I was at the United States Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana (2001-2004), a member of Twelve Step programs wrote me and said that he had also learned that he did not have to return to prison, one day at a time. True.
We, those of us who have been in prison, usually have a choice to make that will allow us, as returning citizens, to remain in the free society.
Please help to spread this idea like a fire to generate support and encourage positive change for fixing the broken criminal justice system. Help Change Lives and Build a Healthier Society. Wayne T. Dowdy
You are granted permission to copy, print, and publish any part of this document, but you must give attribution to the author. You may alter this document, but you must denote the changes in some manner. You may not charge for any work where this document makes up the majority of the work’s text. Jason Glascock
Formula for Integrated Rehabilitation & Education
Statement of Purpose
A person’s education is an on-going process gained through all of life’s experiences. The environment in which a person is immersed is highly influential in the quality and breadth of education. It, therefore, behooves a society to create such an environment that encourages an individual’s self-development, and this development ought to enrich society with individuality’s ability to adapt.
The strength of a culture, society, community is based on the strengths of the individuals bring to it. Without the individual, there is no community. Therefore, the individual is a more important aspect that must be protected. The purpose of A.F.I.R.E. is to develop an environment whereby the individual can grow into a being that is solidly independent that can then choose to become interdependent within society.
The A.F.I.R.E. is a long-term project to create an environment that the person is immersed in. The environment is all-encompassing with a carefully and intentionally created effect that is unique to the individual. The person is given access to resources that allow them to guide their own development, with assistance available, in a context that is supportive of self-discovery for the individual to become a fully realized being. The environment offers the person to make the choice, without coercion or force. The environment is reinforcing of the ideas of individuality and the person as the creator of the community.
is to be instituted in a five-phased process with specific goals. These goals
build on the goals of each previous phase. The phases are not set, but intended
to be dynamic, adaptable and open to new solutions, but always with the
overreaching goal to creating an environment that allows the individual to
achieve the greatest benefit of self-empowerment.
develop a set of personality, aptitude, interest, and metrics that can be used
to inform both the person and prison about how to create the most advantageous
environment for that person, identify freedom potential factors already extant,
and determine what to build upon.
develop a basic set of self-empowerment resources available in the main
develop computer lab resources for extended studies.
develop staff training programs that encourage healthful interpersonal
develop prisoner training programs that encourage healthful interpersonal
Goal: develop an industry-supported certification schema for education.
Goal: develop post-release support for reintegration, including:
– social development with people of shared
interests, i.e. clubs
develop staff centric incentives program for positive relations
develop prison diversion programs that begin at arrest.
develop elementary through high school programs for all students which reduce
risk by inspiring healthy psychological growth.
develop independence schools to encourage freedom potential factors.
goes much further than the STEM Initiative in creating an entire environment
designed to encourage the pursuit of that which grows the individual into a
healthy and complete being. STEM is a basic educational paradigm, but AFIRE is
about how to live, how to think about living, and how to create the best
situation for the person within a prison setting to grow in a positive manner.
Currently, prison is designed to be debilitating. The philosophies of the penological system are to handicap the prisoner and make him/her into an inmate subservient to their will, to take away the individuality and make them nothing but a body. Everything is a punishment from the beds, clothes, food and showers, to relationships with family and support groups. Every opportunity is carefully constructed to ensure failure, encourage strife, and negatively impact the psyche.
A.F.I.R.E. works to change the culture of prison into a healthful experience. Punishment is the separation and periodic denial of close relationships and the freedom of travel, not the denial of educational opportunities, health, and the pursuit of skills that can enrich society. We hurt ourselves when we harm others, and prison is a terrible harm to inflict on our community members. The prisoner is no less part of our community while in prison as they are in the Free World.
Time keeps ticking no matter what goes on in my life. My desire to succeed never slows or diminishes, as I remain determined to succeed on a professional level, just as I have done on an interpersonal level.
My life on the outside has been a challenge in many respects, as it took me eleven months to find a job, other than the non-paying positions I have as a writer and a blogger.
Trying to fit back into society after serving thirty-years, six-months, and eighteen days of my life inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, has also been a challenge, since my not having a job or a place of my own has interfered with having normal, healthy relationships with females. At least, not in the romantic sense: I have healthy-relationships without romantic involvement.
Without the love and support of my friends and a loving family, life would be much rougher for me and more of a challenge to successfully reintegrate into society.
On July 18, 2019, I began working for Goodwill of North Georgia as an Environmental Services Technician, a long title for a janitor, a humble servant.
I am happy to have a regular income and do enjoy getting to do something constructive (cleaning floors, toilets, helping others and doing whatever needs done to keep the building clean and as sanitary as I can).
My position at Goodwill is a way for me to give back to the community because Goodwill does things to help a whole lot of people to have and to do things that otherwise would not be possible. I love Goodwill!
Go to Goodwill of North Georgia and get a job and I’ll love them more if you tell them Wayne T. Dowdy from the McDonough, Georgia store referred you so that I get a $50 bonus. 🙂
Being a servant keeps me humble, a spiritual trait I need because my EGO was out to kill me when I allowed it to run out of control. Today, I remain clean and sober to keep the Ego under control and out of the driver’s seat.
I am like my first sponsor in a Twelve Step program who said, “I have a head that thinks it can kill the body and keep on living.”
Good thing that I know it lies!
In Conclusion: I will make my living with the business I am creating. I will remain humble and do what I can to help the community, online and in person, as I continue my journey of life on the outside.
Here’s a short video clip from the Adventures of Wayne at the Clayton County Reservoir, where I went to a retirement party with a loved one. I hope you enjoy the beauty of the scenery as much as I and can appreciate having eyes to see.
This may not be the typical answer in response to the question, but it does relate, and it’s my story so I’m posting in on here and as a blog on one of my websites:
After leaving the halfway house for my first adventure into the free society, three decades later, on a timed-pass for my first trip to downtown Atlanta, I paid $2.50 to ride the bus to the train station (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority).
I was shocked having to pay $2.50 for the bus fare that used to be much less.
The bus arrived at the train station. To enter the train terminal, I attempted to go through a turnstile that wouldn’t open. I looked at a MARTA employee and said, “It won’t work.”
“You need to buy a Breeze card,” she said.
“I gotta pay to get in here?”
She nodded. I turned took a few steps and glanced around the terminal. I didn’t see a store or anywhere to buy it from, so I said, “Where at?”
She pointed to an area where I saw several machines embedded in a wall of the terminal. I stood and gazed at one of the machines and tried to figure out how to use it: Too many buttons and features for a mind that had been exempt from using most technological-creations for the last thirty years!
For a few moments I continued to stand and stare at the machine, stressed out and overwhelmed because I couldn’t figure out how to operate it (My stress level had more to do with that than the actual technology involved).
I was in a rush because I didn’t want to be late. I had to call in to the halfway house every time I arrived at an approved destination, or risked being put on escape status and being sent back to prison.
I didn’t have time to figure out how to use the Breeze Card Machine, so I looked for help. I saw a man who worked for MARTA and walked up to him and pointed at the machines and then asked, “Do you know how to operate those?”
“Sure,” he said and began walking toward them with me.
“I’ve been in prison for thirty years and need help.”
Moments later, I was on my way to board the train and before the day was over, a woman at another downtown MARTA train station asked me if I knew how to operate the machine so she could buy train fare.
“Sure,” I said and then shared the wealth and we were on our way to our separate designations.
I’ve adapted well to most technology, as is evident by me having several websites now and my using the cellphones I had never used until August 28, 2018, but that darn Breeze Card Machine was just too much for me to comprehend when feeling like a caveman running around in modern society.
Update: I appreciate each response to this answer, all of the upvotes, thousands of views, and a request for permission to translate.
The word “Gratitude” doesn’t express the magnitude of my emotions attached to this experience.
For those who visited my listed website (straightfromthepen.com) and viewed some of my post, most of which were done before my release, please know my publisher created the blog for me, because I had never been online until I went to the halfway house on August 28, 2018.
From inside the prison cells I lived for over thirty-years, I could not see the sky through the trees. To simultaneously capture the beauty of the Sun and the Moon shining through trees would have been miraculous, as it was when I snapped the photo on my cellphone.
A loved one gave me the cellphone I used to partake in the experience that I now share the beauty of with the world.
Everything I have for comfort and convenience has been provided by friends or loved ones. I’m Grateful and Blessed by the Best!
A New Life: Important Words and Feelings: Humbling! Fortunate! Blessed!
In Electronic Chain I wrote about the beginning of a new life on March 8, 2019, when I was officially released from the custody and control of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. https://straightfromthepen.com/electronic-chain
Many things changed since I left Dismas Charities, Inc., most for the good, some not-so-good. The not-so-goods fall under an “Expectations” category, which often creates negative emotions in any living, breathing, human being because things aren’t going according to plan. OUR plan.
For instance, I expected to find a job and to be doing well by now, financially, because I am skilled and knowledgeable in many areas, with documented evidence of skills and a verifiable high Grade Point Average in college. I’m still unemployed, eight months later, and living with relatives I am fortunate to have willing to give me a place to roost.
I didn’t expect to be discriminated against by potential employers and online employment agencies because of my age. I have been, evident by the line going dead when I answer these questions: “When did you graduate or get your GED?” “What year were you born?”
Good things happened more than not-so-good things. I’m still alive and free and that makes life much better for me, and I hope for others, too!
Oddly enough, moments after I began typing this blog a few days ago, Google notified me that I had been officially verified as being me and the owner of the information listed in the Knowledge Panel associated with the name, Wayne T. Dowdy. Though some information Google relied upon is outdated, I’m pleased to be acknowledged as being ME. I’ll work on bringing Mr. Google up to date.
Outside in the sunshine or the moonlight, I feel like me, a free man, a man with choices. A man who knows he is fortunate to walk outside, alone, at night or during the day, without chains and hound dogs chasing him. (Read “The Price of Change” in Essays & More Straight from the Pen [$9.95 USD] and you’ll understand the significance of the last clause of that sentence.) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794396829/ref=rdr_ext_tmb
Don’t count on WordAds to pay the bills if you pay for an upgrade on a WordPress.com website, unless you have thousands of followers and visitors on your website. Without the traffic, you’ll be paying the monthly fees, as I am doing, but it’s all good, because at least I do get to enjoy the privilege of getting my words spread all over the world.
Now I need to go work on my other websites at waynedowdy.weebly.com or wonderfulthingsdone.com or wonderfulthingsdone.net, to see if I can get those sites working and maybe even generating funds and business, so that I will become an employer and won’t need to work for someone else.
To use truthful rationalization as a coping mechanism, I prefer business partners, anyways.
So, to all you employers who discriminate against us returning citizens who grew old during our draconian sentence, stick that job where the sun and moon won’t shine.
In light of all the above, I know things work according to the will of my Higher Power, whom I chose to call God, and that everything will be okay. Life is a matter of perception!
I’m doing well at adjusting to this new life, it’s just a little different than how I imagined it would be before I walked out of the prison doors. It’s all good! I’m GOOD, too!
Can Prison Reform Initiatives Work Without Abolishing Private Prisons?
I wrote this post as a creative solution for prison reform. Money controls business decisions, and with most politicians in the pockets of private prison executives, policies remain the same. Prison reform needs allies, not enemies. This plan joins forces.
Yes, I feel it is possible. Private prison companies can aid in the transformation of the criminal justice system by putting more resources into effective programs to help reduce recidivism.
Evidence of decreased recidivism rates will increase profit margins by allowing higher contract prices. Privatization of prisons requires making a profit off those who go to prison. A large component of incarceration is “Reentry” into society upon release, as CoreCivic (previously Corrections Corporation of America), and GEO Group realized and began investing in Residential Reentry Centers.
Creating a component of prison privatization to aid reentry processes, opens the door for other profits to be gained by a companies.
Market doors open when private prison companies invest in supplying associated services to returning citizens. For instance,
building or investing in treatment centers or other services to treat drug and alcohol problems;
supplying psychological services (counseling/treatment for mental health and emotional issues);
suitable housing projects;
job training classes, vocational skills programs, employment opportunities (e.g., temporary job services, employment agencies, creating divisions for other companies to employ returning citizens).
If a three-year recidivism study shows a substantial reduction in recidivism, then private prison executives can charge much higher rates, since paying the increased rate saves taxpayers dollars by not having to pay to re-incarcerate returning citizens.
Profits margins increase by charging an added percentage for services provided to the former prisoners/returning citizens.
Providing the established program is voluntary, where prisoners exiting the system have a choice of whether he or she wishes to participate, any Risk versus Benefit analysis would increase demand of offered services, because upgraded-programs would become the Gold Standard and most-desired by prisoners exiting the prison system and wanting to successfully reenter society.
Great question! I feel it’s important for those who are released to know help is available. Websites such as Fair Shake | Reentry Resource Center and other reentry based websites have collected available resources (including companies who hire ex-offenders/returning citizens), organized by state, if applicable, to help provide hope for success, and to help returning citizens know help is available. That means a lot, so, I feel it is important to support those types of services, and to then direct returning citizens to them and to any of the organizations mentioned in those sites that supplies suggestions for successful reintegration.
Family and friends may also visit those sites to learn more about what the
returning citizen faces upon release. Researching for the returning citizen
helps, and during the process, the family members and friends may learn ways to
help supply support to returning citizens.
As I state in many of my answers, there are many variables concerning prison
life and the thousands of individuals held within the walls of confinement, who
are then released back into society—with society sometimes being a
foreign environment—because of all the changes that occurred since the
departure of the returning citizen.
All released prisoners do not have the same history (amount of time served
and under what conditions, which means a lot in considering release-needs; the
nature of their offense(s); substance abuse and or mental health issues; what
all was lost during the period of incarceration; educational and vocational
backgrounds, which may help determine employability; available resources from
family and friends. etc.).
The answers to those factors help determine what others may do to help that
person successfully reintegrate.
PERSONALLY: For me, it was important knowing I had the support of my family and friends, emotional support as well as any financial-support I needed, within reason. Having loved ones who provided me with clothing, any needed funds, a place to live, and a cellphone and computer helped more than the words flying from these keys can accurately represent.
I have been blessed and am fortunate to have walked out of prison,
thirty-years and ten-days later, to still have family and friends who were
still around and still loved and cared for me. Most returning citizens are not so fortunate
and need help finding a job to support themselves, if able to work; if not, may
need help finding where to apply for any available aid, and help in applying
for that aid.
Forms and processes for obtaining available services can be aggravating and overwhelming to returning citizens without experience in technology.
Transitioning isn’t easy after decades away. Seeing the differences in prices have made me say on many occasions that, “They better be glad I changed my ways.” I felt like I was being robbed and would have wanted to rob-back, had I not changed.
Because of the many difficulties I have faced as an elderly-returning citizen,
if I had not focused on changing my life during the last twenty-three of the
thirty-years I served, I’d likely have already returned to prison. Because truthfully speaking, for many of us
who have spent most of our lives inside the insane world of incarceration; in
many respects, it is easier to survive life inside prison than on the outside.
On the outside, I have to be more
responsible (paying bills, getting insurance, dealing with health-services;
(under normal circumstances, finding a place to live), finding transportation
and paying for expenses), having to make more decisions (such as what to eat and
where to get it), and to learn a whole new way of life. Thus, comes the term often applied to the
long-term aspect of prison life: “institutionalization.” I am not!
I’m up for the challenge and will succeed, regardless of any factors I am faced with during my transition from walking out of the Dark Ages into the Modern World. [End Quora Post]
Excerpt from Reentry Programs Will Reduce Recidivism (July 21, 2016)
FAIRSHAKE REENTRY RESOURCE CENTER: One valuable Reentry Service that is doing its part to promote change by assisting ex-offenders, is the FairShake, Reentry Resource Center. Ms. Sue Kastensen, Founder and Director, created FairShake.net (www.fairshake.net), from her personal resources and commitment to make a difference. She deserves an award!
FairShake. net needs donations to continue to provide a place where people may go to find important information and links to organizations to facilitate the successful reentry of the formerly incarcerated.
Many of those released are like aliens entering a distant world, after having spent decades of their lives confined in cages: Those men and women need all available help to successfully reintegrate into society.
FairShake offers resource information for all to use for successful reentry.
The FairShake Reentry Packet contains useful information to improve the quality of life. Whether just beginning or near completion of his or her sentence, it is a publication worth reading for anyone interested in improving their mind, body and spirit.
Family and friends of the incarcerated may go to http://www.fairshake.net to download and print a free copy of the Reentry Packet to mail into a prison or jail for a loved one or friend. [Check prison or detention center mailroom policies before printing to mail.]
[I regret writing that the following is no longer possible due to a lack of donations to cover the $8.00 per-packet-cost, and because of new regulations in many prison mailrooms that prohibit certain types of paper due to the influx of K-2 (Spice) and Suboxone.]
The electronic Fairshake Newsletter is still available.Those incarcerated may write or email to request a free copy–include your name, Id. No. and address. Send request to this address:
P.O. Box 63
Westby, WI 54667
If you have Corrlinks, email email@example.com.
UNIQUE WEBSITE: Their unique website offers valuable tools to assist members in their transition from the insane world of incarceration into the free society.
The website contains free web pages for members (membership is free to all formerly incarcerated individuals). The website contains five categories of important data:
Reentry Resources (State and Local Reentry Guides);
Building Computer Skills;
Educate Yourself; and
Finding Specific Pages.
The Reentry Packet illustrates how to navigate their system. Below a photo, under “Fair Shake Reentry Tool Kit,” is a list of options, including Resource Directory, Reentry Packet, Ownership Manual, Building Computer Skills, Preparing for Work, and Become a Member.
Visit http://www.fairshake.net to become part of the solution for reducing recidivism and changing lives: Save lives and taxpayer dollars!
Also available to Returning Citizens for locating valuable resources are these websites: