After being released from prison after twelve years, I hadn’t realized how much the world had changed, or how difficult it would be for a formerly incarcerated person to obtain reentry assistance. Prison guards had literally dropped me off – on a Saturday morning – at a community support facility that was closed, and left me to my own devices without a dime in my pockets. I have several disabilities including a seizure disorder, and needed a cane to walk due to my diagnosis for osteoarthritis. Depression set in rapidly.
However – and after a few false starts, I was able to connect with some services including the Institute for Community Justice (ICJ) which assisted me with resources to begin my assimilation back into society. ICJ staff provided me with invaluable support in preparing for – and locating – employment. Additionally, I was referred to a programme that offers customer support training and a job after successfully completing that training.
While I still suffer from depression and post traumatic stress from my time in prison, the help I received from ICJ has increased my confidence. And more importantly, I know that my transition back into society will be much easier.