“Second Chances” for Those Released From Prison Implies They’ve Been Given a First

From Ms. Magazine, an article by Tyra Patterson, an advocate and artist, is creating a world where people impacted by incarceration are fully welcomed back home and not defined by their mistakes.

“Second chance” ignores that actual lives and communities have been decimated by inequitable lawsrabid police officers, overzealous prosecutors, racially homogenous juries and intolerant judges. At any given time in this country, there are approximately 2.3 million people behind bars. Seventy percent of those impacted individuals don’t have a high school diploma. In my case, I dropped out of school when I was 11 years old, unable to read or write. Growing up, my family experienced chronic homelessness, and education took a backseat to my survival. With everything that was stacked against me and my family, I became a prime target for exploitation at the hands of our broken criminal justice system, leading to my wrongful conviction.