As I begin to prepare to go home in a little more than 80 days, I start to ask myself what I should expect once I’m free. I envision the world as a train going down the tracks at 90 miles per hour. This train isn’t going to stop for us; it won’t even slow down. How in the world do we get back on?
We must build ourselves a ramp, carefully seeking help along the way. There’s only one successful landing: too far right and you crash and too far left is the same story. To make things more difficult, we don’t have much in here to help us on our mission. Everything we have access to is 10 to 20 years old and most of our case managers are burned out.
I already have so much working against me and so many people saying I will fail. I was always told, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I must be one strong guy.
The pandemic has caused so much uncertainty. Here, we’ve re-started the rule about handwashing to be done at every count.
I got vaccinated. I’m still asking myself whether or not it was the right choice, but I want to be able to go home and live my life.
At this point, the only way I’ll be bringing COVID-19 home to my family is if one of the staff members brings it into the facility. More than 60% of the staff members here are still unvaccinated.
So many people don’t believe that any of this is real. They think it’s all a political stunt.
On the news they’re saying no one wants to work and for that I am thankful. At least I will be able to get a job without being looked down on because of my past. I have a real chance of staying out now because I’ll be employed, not at a run-down shop, but somewhere place I can actually use my skills.
The city has changed and I don’t know what to expect.
We’ve been told by various organizations during Zoom calls that they’ll be there to help us, but when they find out about what you were convicted for, they won’t touch you with a 10-foot pole. They’ll tell you they don’t have the funding, but that’s just the go-to answer, leaving us to go back to what we know.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.