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We Are Kidnapping the Incarcerated

This past weekend I had the pleasure of participating in a training class that provided me with not only new knowledge and connections, but also impactful information into what is still happening in the prisons. Please allow me to explain!

In this group sat 15 former felons, 5 of whom had just been released within the last year. From those 5 we learned that 4 of them were well past their max out dates, yet still held in the prison and told it was due to COVID pushing the process back. This is kidnapping. This is illegal and morally wrong on so many levels. But more than anything, this is detrimental to the overall health, well-being and reentry process of those incarcerated.

What do I mean when I mention their reentry process? Well, imagine you've been placed into a cage for the last few years of your life and for each of those years, you've had a date circled on your calendar. The date that represents your second chance. Your opportunity to prove to the world and yourself that not only can you do better, you're going to do better! Now, in the months leading up to that date, you've been anxiously preparing yourself and those outside for your return. You've made plans and have a list of what actions you must take as soon as you are released to realize your best opportunities. You've worked with your counselors and family to prepare a road map to success. The day comes. You're packed and ready to set your plan I motion and the CO never comes. When you do see him next, you ask "hey boss, what's up, I'm supposed to be going home today" and your CO responds oh no pal, you're staying here with me! No explanation, no sympathy, no resources provided. Just a blanket statement that you're now being held against your will, past the date the system predetermined was the absolute latest you should be released. You know you will not have money now, as your support system was prepping for you to come home, they've spent your money on furniture and clothes and supplies you would have needed. Your counselor doesn't have time available to speak with you because, well simply put, you were already off their roster and there's plenty more to fill your spot. You can't get into the law library to figure out how to defend your own rights to freedom because the law library has been closed up through COVID. You're stuck. You are literally stuck with no way out and no resource to even begin helping you to get out. Your reentry now seems as though it will never be possible and you've now given up all hope.

I can not tell you how often this happens! One gentleman I spoke with, was almost 2 full years passed his max out date and when he was finally released he said he was told that if he hadn't messed up he wouldn't have had that problem.

The prison system treats the incarcerated like animals. And there is not enough noise being made about these issues to even begin to have them corrected. I say, do away with ALL privatized prison systems and we'd see a much smaller population, along with a focus on rehabilitation. The reason we have a punative system now, simple, money!! To the tune of $37,000 per person!! That's more than I was making when I left my retail management job, by the way, just for perspective.

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  • Wow! Thanks for sharing the info
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