It’s been said that prison is either a womb or a tomb, but that we all have a choice in the matter. You can come to prison to be unchanged, uninspiring and lifeless… Or you can come to prison and find new life within yourself and work hard to develop inside to create a new and better you. A rebirth. A resurrection. A rise of a new person from the sins of the old… If you’ve ready anything on HumanMe, you know that we celebrate those that choose their rebirth.

But much like actual birth, it comes with traumas. The act of leaving prison is traumatic, also. Most of this can be placed in the fact that nothing of the carceral system is intended for the overall rehabilitative success, so those that do work at it can still be overwhelmed by the world and the act of going into it. Arbitrary policies and procedures are often roadblocks to success and those roadblocks are experienced prior to leaving prison. It’s a fight to get out. The stress of shouldering extended periods of time in survival mode aren’t the most compatible with successful free living. Moreover, nothing is standard or predictable for those releasing. What works for one absolute will not for another and there is rarely a reason why not. It’s shooting in the dark… constantly. And prison staff are overstretched by overincarceration as is. Just managing the daily grind in prison operations is a bureaucratic mess that provides almost no room for variables like “release options”. They have no time to explore those options for the inmate. Barrier after barrier…

And then, one day, it happens. You find yourself emotionally damaged from the trauma of the release process and now trying to figure out a world the system never exposed you to. And once air fills your lungs and you can cry out for this brutal chapter in life, your brain switches and you try and forget it all. All of it. The prison time, the friends made, the experiences, the traumas… And you forget because of those traumas, much like when you came into this world. The rebirth is just like the real birth. For many, it’s just too painful to recall.

by Rory Andes

Be kind to someone releasing from prison. It’s like returning from war…

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Rory Andes 367649
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272