The holiday season is often a time for family gatherings, and while many will be preparing for reunions in the coming days, it is important to remember the roadblocks returning citizens face.
For instance, background checks cause thousands of potential collateral consequences that can impact things like housing or employment. As my story explains, these consequences can even inappropriately spill over to a family reunification.
On May 27, 1994, I lost my freedom. I was sent to prison for a crime I did not commit..
Everything I knew suddenly and tragically dissipated right before my eyes. I vividly remember my mother’s wails as I was found guilty. From that moment on, I longed for, dreamed of, and worked toward regaining my freedom.
The general belief is that freedom is reestablished once released from custody. I have come to learn just how untrue that is.
One may be physically free, but the stigma and stain of incarceration always remains. Thousands come home every year only to be subjected to collateral consequences, stringent parole or probation conditions, and overall barriers to the simplest life experiences.
These continue your incarceration.