The Struggles of Re-Entry

When a prisoner achieves the goal of reforming himself, and he strives to help others to do the same, he is faced with great opposition from the very same ones who are charged with the responsibility of helping him to become a better person while in the Department of Corrections. For this reason many do not speak out because they fear reprisal from the Administration. This is where the sacrifice must come in. Some of us have to be persecuted to show the world so that justice can prevail. The Department of Corrections is full of those who do not believe in reformation. Those who believe that punishment in the the form of locking us up and throwing away the key is the cure for criminality. As a mentor in the Reentry Community of Augusta I have witnessed those who despise our efforts to become better. I was told by an elder and fellow law clerk by the name of Johnny Nelson that "We are their meal ticket. Without us they have no jobs. So when you start to talk that productive citizen talk, that free your mind talk, that stop recidivism talk, we create enemies from amongst those that make a living and thrive off of us coming to prison." I have personally seen generations of correctional officers working in prisons. Grandmother, Daughter, Granddaughter. Grandfather, Father, Grandson. So when we start pushing for prison and criminal justice reform that calls for new methods of corrections, the possible decrease in population, or shutting down of prisons due to overcrowding and other conditions, there is much resistance. And let's not forget the multi million dollar corporations that benefit from those on the inside. They surely don't want to free up the hosts upon which they are the parasites. So when we stand up for justice we must understand that we shall be met with much opposition from those who benefit from an unjust system. Yet if we are able to endure the attempts of the tyrants to keep us down, we will surely be victorious. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that, "The arc of the universe bends towards justice." "Justice" according to "Webster" is defined as, "The administration of what is just." "Just" is define as what is 1) reasonable, 2) correct or proper, 3) what is morally or legally right, and 4) deserved, so for those who have been deprived of what is "just," they need to know know that justice will not sleep forever. It cannot be avoided for balance must be restored. For all those who are advocates and activists for justice, just keep on pushing through the opposition, endure and stay the course, we will meet with it very soon. For as that arc bends toward justice, we align our actions with it, and we won't stop until the mission is complete. - Hassan Shabazz, VAPOC

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