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Half-Past the Halfway House

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 8 months ago

Half-Past the Halfway House

 

Blog from - www.JoshWolf.net March 3rd, 2007

 

Not too long ago I wrote about Jerry Robisson and his suggestions for reducing the recidivism that plagues the criminal justice system. While his recommendations for developing entrepreneurial programs seem like a long term solution, I’ve often wondered what programs already exist for transitioning out of prison and into society.

 

There are the halfway houses that many prisoners settle into after their release, but these institutions seem more akin to Prison Lite than the step toward an honest life that they purport to be. I’ve heard numerous accounts of people’s experience living in a halfway house and not one of them was positive. Many convicts said they preferred life in prison to life in the halfway house, and not a single person I spoke with felt their halfway house prepared them for acquiring any sort of atainable employment opportunities.

 

So what’s out there? After writing the article about Robisson’s perspective, several people wrote to me with information on various rehabilitation programs, most of them faith-based. While religious initiatives certainly can yield positive results, they are definitely not for everyone.

 

A couple of weeks ago, while listening to KPFA on Friday night, I heard about Homeboy Hotline. Fleetwood, the spokesperson for the project, described the initiative as a series of “programs set up to help those reentering society find employment.” He spoke with the raw honesty of a man who had experience with the difficulties one faces finding employment and without the religious rhetoric which often accompanies programs that focus on redemption. In the words of Fleetwood, “a lot of guys get out of the cage and have good intentions, but the temptation of the block takes over.”

 

Hopefully, the Homeboy Hotline provides an opportunity to counter that temptation and allow those returning to freedom to get their feet firmly planted in an enterprise that won’t lead to their return to prison. For more information, visit the link above or call (510)451-2961.

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