Every issue of RISE centers around a topic, and this issue's topic is family. Whether it’s the one you’re born into or the one you create, everyone deserves the love and support of a family.
Right now, Mindy, one of my best friends, has a daughter serving time. She’s spent two years in prison, and she will finally be released soon.
I asked Mindy about her daughter, Jessica, coming out, and if they had a reentry plan in place. She said, “At first I wanted to just get her an apartment and help her get started, but being alone and isolated is not what she needs.”
As a parent, Mindy wants to keep her daughter safe, help her transition into a new life, and surround her with a support system to guide her in the right direction. Going back to her old ways which was heroin addiction, no job, and stealing to support her habit is the last thing either of them want. Jessica will need to reenter back into society surrounded by community and the loving support of her family.
I’ve been in Jessica’s shoes, and after having structure, rules, and restrictions, it can be overwhelming right when we get out. Some of us rediscover the best parts of ourselves inside: our self-respect, our resilience, and our sense of humor. But prison can also make us angry, aggressive, and resentful.
Freedom is a state of mind. We can be a prisoner without bars, or we can find peace behind them. But just like Jessica, finding our own path is not a solo trip; kids, parents, and friends ride along too.