For 6,000 Inmates About To Be Freed, Life Will Be “Extremely Challenging”


Next weekend, 6,000 federal prisoners are set for release, one of the largest mass releases ever. NPR spoke with two people about what these ex-inmates may face after they get out: Stanley Richards of the Fortune Society and a former inmate himself, and Saquan Dubose, who was released from a state prison several months ago after serving more than three years. Dubose says, “The first day coming out …they give you a clean set of clothes. They give you $40 and a bus ticket … You get to the city, and then you realize the value of money is not what it was when you were at home. So you go in the store and that same little piece of candy that may have cost five cents now is probably a dollar … the money has basically no value now. It’s a lot to take on, like it can really be overwhelming for someone that’s been there a long time.”

Most of those eligible for early federal release have served an average of nine years,. Even in that time, says, Richards, “Just imagine the speed in which technology changes. They’re coming home to a new world. They’re coming home to a new place – a new place to compete economically, to find jobs. The skills and experiences they had before they went in probably are not relevant today. Housing probably is a huge challenge. Many of them after eight or nine years either don’t have family because family passed on or their ties to family have been messed up. And [there] is mental health. Prison is significant trauma, and people have to deal with that … It’s extremely challenging.” He adds, “There’s not enough resources to deal with the need. But the resources that are available for those who walk in, they can find their way to reclaiming their life. So I’m optimistic that we can get it right.”

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