My sister was arrested for drug charges and sentenced to six years in prison. After one year, she was put on probation. Our step-father (who had remarried since our mother’s death) stood up in court and told them that she would be living with him until she was able to find employment and stable enough to live on her own. She was put on parole and went to live with him.
Three weeks later, his new wife demanded that she be kicked out. He agreed and they booted her to the curb. Our step-father paid the first months rent at a low income apartment complex and sent her on her way. Then proceeded to completely cut her off. Wouldn’t return phone calls, mail, or emails. She had no job, and nobody to help her out. I tried when I could, but I’m seven hours away. So two months later, not having any money, getting kicked out of her apartment, and having all her utilities shut off she cut her ankle monitor off and hopped in a friend’s car and tried to make a run for it. They were both caught and tossed back in the slammer and she served another two years before getting released on parole again. This time with the help of some people she had met while she was inside through the church program. With their help she successfully completed her parole with out any problems and while her life isn’t easy she has a stable job and a house. – Admlshake, via Reddit.
Re-entering the world after serving time in prison is not something we think about. It’s a corner of society hidden in the shadows, that we conveniently overlook.
Yes, these people have committed crimes – some heinous – and they were sent to prison for a reason. Maybe, you might argue, they don’t deserve our sympathy. But they certainly deserve our consideration.
On average, 31% of women released from jail in Australia will re-offend and do additional time within the ten years following their release. This figure is more than double for indigenous women, with 71% reoffending after release.
The hardest part is once you get out. You come out with nothing and if you don’t have anyone to help you get back on your feet, the cards are seriously stacked against you. – Diddlebutt, via Reddit.
At the weekend, I read the story about Samson. A Sydney man who spent 19 years in jail for murder and a kidnapping. The story followed his journey after his release. His fear of returning to jail – he refused to even jaywalk, for fear of being booked. And his struggles re-assimilating into society.
How to find work, when your last real job was 20 years ago, and your most recent employer was Goulburn Correctional Center?
It made me wonder about women in the same situation. Women who haven’t seen their kids in months or years. Women who have no home to return to, no job to go back to.
Women who are moving from the brutality of surviving in prison, to trying to survive in freedom. Transitioning between two different realities, that are worlds apart.