Jan 18, 2011

Finding a Castle

Today's New York Times' Opinionator, "For Ex-Prisoners, A Haven Away From the Streets," written by Tina Rosenberg hits exactly the right note as she describes released individuals' critical need for "pro-social" interactions and environments.  The Opinion piece highlights the Fortune's Society's success in offering its Castle tenants/clients exactly that.

"Former prisoners go back to their old neighborhoods and meet up with their old gang, or new people of the only type they may be comfortable with — criminals.  But what people need is to stop hanging out with associates who tempt them with promises of easy money or drug-filled nights.  They need to start hanging out with people who think about the consequences of their actions, who value legitimate jobs, sobriety and family — people who go to their A.A. meetings and G.E.D. classes, who are trying to rebuild their lives."

At the Task Force and Parole Reentry programs here at the Justice Center, we so often witness individuals released from prison only to the return to the same conditions they left and surrounded by the same individuals who influenced their decision-making prior to prison. It is part of our jobs to help connect our clients with environments and opportunities that offer them role models, community, and hope. There are not enough of  Fortune's Castle's to go around  (oh, how we wish there were!),but the concept is a critical one--we must assist clients, in whatever setting to which they are released, navigate towards finding their own Castles.