Andre Lyons is a popular man at the Correctional Treatment Facility in Washington, DC. Once a month (or occasionally more frequently, if needed to calm rising tensions), Lyons enters the confinement unit, clippers in hand, to provide haircuts for the men in “the hole.”
Former prisoner Will Avila had a dream to help others in the reentry community. Will founded Clean Decisions, a professional-grade cleaning company providing work for returning citizens. His dream became a reality for people like Carlos Tyler and Charles Binion, who both had the chance to meet Will shortly after leaving prison.
“The only thing I’d ever graduated from was drug treatment. I had no training, no certifications in anything. What I did have was a very lengthy criminal history,” says Jessica Towers.
With six felonies and a scant professional résumé, Jessica wasn’t exactly set up for success as a jobseeker.
In 1992, Bryan Kelley was sentenced to life for murdering a man in a drug deal gone bad. As many in his situation have done, he spent time during his first few months in prison reflecting on his past decisions and regretting previous choices.
Every race has a finish line. But what happens when that line gets pushed farther out making it virtually unreachable?
That’s how it can feel for men and women entering society after completing their prison term. Though their “debt to society” has been paid, payday never ends since many former prisoners find themselves wading through a “second prison,” further locking them into a life with limited choices.
On May 25, mere steps from the Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC, Prison Fellowship announced the launch of the Faith and Justice Fellowship. The new bipartisan collaboration brings together a disparate group of policy makers from various faith traditions, united in a desire to promote restorative values in the criminal justice system.
For many family members of incarcerated men and women, the barriers to staying in contact with their loved ones behind bars can be tough to overcome. Separated by long distances and inflexible schedules, these families ultimately lose touch with each other, depriving prisoners of the support and encouragement needed to make a break from past behavior and to successfully endure the time spent in prison.
On a cold and overcast October day, thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about drug and alcohol abuse, and to help chart a course where those affected by addiction are treated as individuals in need of help, and not simply warehoused as criminals.