Need a FREE Place to Live?

Hollani Davis moderating a candidates forum sponsored by the Roanoke Chapters of the NAACP and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

Many years ago I knew a man who had been out of prison for less than a year before he ended right back up in a jail cell.  Was this by accident?  Not at all.  He WANTED to go back to prison.

So imagine what I wanted to say when some of the candidates running for State House and Senate races commented during a forum last night that they didn’t know anyone who ever wanted to go to jail?   They might not know anyone.  But I do.

As (ex)offenders or even some lawyers will tell you, life on the “inside” is so much easier.  For the inmate it means free rent.  Free meals.  Virtually, you have no responsibility as it is the guards who dictate when you can go outside, when you have to go to bed and when you can watch television.  For people who have spent years in this kind of  environment, it can all be quite comforting and comfortable.  Even more so when you consider the reality of today’s society. The grind of finding a job (if you don’t have one) can be a 24/7 task.  Worrying about where your next meal is going to come from, how you’re going to pay the light bill – all of that can be too overwhelming.  So yes, some people (who’ve already served time) want to go to prison.

Sad.  But true.


2 responses to “Need a FREE Place to Live?

  1. I have once fallen from grace and a divorce I didn’t want to let my wife have, but knew to fight it would not change the outcome. And I loved her enough to let her go even though it made me miserable. I was so mortified I gave up my job as a drug rep, and went to work for $2.90 per hour in a hospital; where others suffering might help me forget my own. It was exactly what I needed, women everywhere I looked,etc. Nice batchelor pad, but the change in income wasn’t affecting the way I lived, that is till all the bills came due. I’d never been late with a payment in my life, now I was never on time paying any bill. Next came the loss of the job, and the persuit of a new love to Florida. But after finding no work ib the first few days, I began selling my blood to buy soup to stay healthy enough to sell my blodd, a vischious cycle. Sleeping in bus terminals rest rooms, washing only the most odorus parts, and going to the cologne counter in department stores and spritzing myself with sample cologne sprays testors. Yea, I was getting close to the bottom and then I looked up and back from where I’d been and where I was now. the mountain seemed to high to climb, but I climbed it and am finally back on top again. My heart goes out to those that were in the gated communities and luxourious homes, that now start out early to try and find the best and safest drain tile to sleep in, and thank God for the Plasma donor centers which is their food ticket.

  2. Virginian Grandma

    The System is not right. Would the public prefer an extremely flustrated ex-prisoner or one who feels there just might be a chance to be someone different?
    When a prisoner is released he/she is given approx. $35.00 cash and a one way bus ticket to the county seat. If they are fortunate they might have some one to meet them at the jail/prison. I don’t expect them to receive “handouts” but there should be programs in place to help them get back on their feet. It is very flustrating to 1: not be able to find work, possibly shelter, 2: Start receiving bills from the state for money owed from different agencies, court costs,etc. – (And they expect payment NOW). The ex-prisoner still has no job so where is the money coming from? 3: How do they get started on a positive path?
    I am a support person for an ex-prisoner. We met in 2000, prior to the joke of legal representation and sentencing! The person was released approx. 9 yrs. ago. TRUE caring and support is the best re-hab. available (if it’s accepted). An employer willing to give an opportunity brings amazing hope and eases the flustration. The change in values and life in general is amazing.

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