By Christopher Trotter

Imagine wrists being wrapped in handcuffs, a judge imposing long math numbers, and iron bars being slammed shut in the face of the man of your household, who was the financial backbone, changing your family hustle to family struggle.

Prison can financially damage ex-prisoners and their families. The families, from financially supporting fighting the case and expenses once convicted. An independent man is now dependent on the state and whatever family he has left due to broken relationships and spirits from incarceration. Imagine the emotions of finally being heard by a court recognizing your innocence, or even relief from Illinois over sentencing.

Once released after doing numbers, with no corrections, help or training, who is going to hire him? Where is he going to go, home to his Momma? He is still a dependent, depending on the system. Illinois Department of Corrections is not a department of corrections, but instead, a department/system of obstacles to make you a dependent.

As a prisoner soon to be ex-prisoner, we all face a reality check of the following questions. 1. Where am I going? 2. What am I going to do financially? 3. Is there any other options than following a broken, corrupt system that’s proven to fail? 4. How can I dream again and have success? I can’t come back! ■

Originally published in the Fall/Winter 2018 edition of Stateville Speaks.