Although the article that appeared in the Hometown section Nov. 3 was a nice, inspirational piece, I feel inclined to let readers know the reality of what it is like for the majority of rehabilitated convicts.

I can tell you that everyone who serves time in prison, regardless of how much they've changed their life around, is released with all cards stacked against them and not a single benefit of doubt in their favor.

In severely overcrowded penitentiaries, your chance of gaining any useful vocational skills inside is all but nil. Then, they set you "free" with hardly enough funds to afford a change of clothing, let alone a place to live.

You are assigned a parole officer whose primary concerns are that you have a job and pay your monthly supervision fees. If you had children prior to being sent to prison, you now owe several years' worth of child support with interest, and they want their money.

Contrary to all the blatant lies, you being a felon will be held against you when seeking employment. Communities will shun you and look upon you with suspicion. Authorities will treat you as if you are the same person you were before serving time for your crimes.

Several years after my time in prison, I am now a happily married father, a small business owner and published author. Not one of these accomplishments came with any assistance or encouragement from the state.

Jason Crager, De Soto

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