The lack of resources for reentry into our communities is very evident when a returning citizen arrives home and then this person ends up returning shortly after being released. It’s that lack of confidence a person feels in order to move forward, because the system lets us down. Is it perhaps those who are in these positions don’t really care or are they there just to collect a check?
You see, it starts in our institutions such as here at Western IL. C.C. There’s no basic computer education or any education for technological advances that’s occurring on the outside. Nor is there any type of resume building or social improvement. Not everyone could just gain the experience needed or comprehend the material by reading a book in a cell. Where’s the aid? Where’s all the funds going I.B.O.C incentives for an inmate? Where’s that interest they collect from our accounts that one doesn’t collect
when getting out? I have this sense there’s a lack of concern. Then many wonder why it’s difficult for us when we return to our community and we have to reengage with society or family. We’re thrown out and told good luck.
Lacking the knowledge needed so that we struggle and suffer twice as hard than an individual without a criminal background. If we can’t provide for ourselves how can we do so for our families who are impacted the most. There’s no addressing our real needs; therefore we leave these places hurt and angry. Stigmatized with many barriers such as health, education, and housing we’re looked down upon lacking that confidence which hinders us from contributing. There’s such an abundance of shame within us that leads us right back to what we know… the streets.
For example, we take vocational classes such as culinary, automotive, etc… here with material and books that Lakeland College provides which are well over a decade old. Within the four months before completion all this material is thrown at you. Afterwards we don’t utilize that skill throughout the remainder of our sentence. It can be years before one’s release and by then much is forgotten. How can we gain that experience needed for the outside? There’s not much hands on just book work, kind of backwards if you ask me.
Since Covid is still present we’re still in our cells as we’ve been since 2020! No educational programs, no working jobs… so no progress being made in which no good time is being issued for one’s productivity. Now what? Another challenge? The “Re-entry coordinator” who works here doesn’t even provide or reply back with information for one to obtain outside resources needed for those who are returning home. Just another challenge/barrier. How many have to cry out? Everyone points the finger at each other, but not many are coming up with a collective solution. Thanks!!!