Re-entry

Many times, the reality of re-entry sets up those who are about to be released for failure, which ultimately, sets up society for failure. Somewhere our system quit safeguarding its society by failing to rehabilitate and releasing ex-offenders who are not prepared to succeed.

Many times, the reality of re-entry sets up those who are about to be released for failure, which ultimately, sets up society for failure. Somewhere our system quit safeguarding its society by failing to rehabilitate and releasing ex-offenders who are not prepared to succeed. This can only ensure the repetitive cycle of society being a victim of the revolving door of incarceration. Here's an example of such a tragedy.

A recent releasee nicknamed "Italy", who after doing twenty-plus years in prison is finally getting out. He has family that wants him to come to live with them up in Connecticut, but the releasee’s officer refuses him. Instead, tells him that he will be staying at a shelter in Ft.Lauderdale, FL where he knows nobody and has nothing.

Italy was lucky enough to meet Denise, a re-entry advocate, through someone he knew in prison. She would work tirelessly to get him into a better situation to succeed. Multiple calls to his release officer at the prison went nowhere and Italy would be released to the shelter. When Italy arrived at the address given, he looked around as it must be a mistake...a McDonalds? This just can't be right.

His probation officer would verify that it was, in fact, correct and Italy would now have to call the sidewalk outside of Mcdonalds' home. Denise would continue to work to change his hopeless situation, driving an hour and a half on multiple occasions to bring him clothes, toiletries, a sleeping bag, a backpack, a phone, and a friend to let him know that he was not alone.

Denise would work with another awesome advocate to acquire Italy a job, but it would be inWest Palm Beach, an hour and a half north. They would buy him bus passes, and gift cards that allowed him to eat and tried to get his probation relocated to West Palm Beach to better accommodate success (yet to no avail). Regardless, Italy was bound and determined not to fail. He would arrive the cleanest dressed employee and would try his best to understand his new job's responsibilities.

The unfortunate thing about doing twenty-plus years in a prison system that provides little to no useful re-entry preparation, it leaves an offender twenty years behind. Data entry was the new gig, but Italy did not even know how to turn on the computer. They would work with him, but as the probation officer would continue to refuse transfer to West PalmBeach he soon would be worn down and opted to try to find something closer.

The loneliness and fear that he must have felt could have had him turn to what he once knew as a survival technique...crime, but he continued to plug away. Driven to succeed to get to his sister and daughter up north he would refuse to give up. Thirteen minutes pas this curfew (meaning that he had to be at his McDonald's address at a certain time), his probation officer sent him back to prison for an additional seven years...and he sits broken in a prison cell to this very day.

Italy's story is shocking, to say the least, and so many are unaware of this type of consistent tragedy. However, there are also plenty of successful entrants into a society that through hard work, dedication, and good support have overcome the enormous obstacles that face most ex-felons. As we hear both the success and the horrific we will be able to identify the common denominators of each and learn what it takes for success.

Society-First seeks to be a platform to advocate for reform and to aid men and women in making a positive transition back into society. We are looking for solutions that will greatly reduce recidivism while helping society embrace its returning citizens.

More Problems

2

Drugs

In general, the effects of drugs are at the center of almost every sad story, but in the world of prison, they can give a defining end to those stories. Being incarcerated presents the perfect isolation to impact those in society who for many diverse reasons have turned to the numbing effects of drugs and alcohol.

6

Suicide

In today's prison system, suicide is one of the saddest realities that our world has to offer. The amount of pain, loneliness, and sorrow that can compel someone to take their own life is something that a human being should not ever have to know.

15

Florida's Probation System

When it comes to Florida's probation (and parole for those still under the pre-1983 parole commission) systems, there may not be more of an unjust policy for ex-offenders who are trying to start a new life. The negative snowball created when probationers (who are not committing a new crime) are violated and sent back to prison, is a snowball that destroys everything in its path.