Supporting Formerly Incarcerated People
"That team is helping returning citizens conquer practical barriers like job hunting and housing, but also relearn a skill they may have forgotten how to use: decision making. 'In prison, everything is decided for you,' Sharp said. 'If you do try to make a decision, you’re punished for it. When you’re incarcerated, you make about 100 decisions a day. On an average day, a [person who has not been incarcerated] makes 30,000 decisions a day. When do I get up? What do I do? What do I eat? How do I get there? We want to take people from 100 to 30,000 decisions a day.'”
Community Reentry Councils help address immediate needs, but their success right now, as Nelson noted, is dependent on the individual coaches and their connections or networks in their communities. Plus, there are what Sharp calls “collateral consequences,” or extra penalties that are attached to a criminal conviction in addition to serving time in jail or prison.
According to the National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction, persons with any kind of criminal record experience about 851 collateral consequences in West Virginia. The consequences are 'formed in so many ways that it would take years to eliminate them one at a time,' Sharp says." Continue reading here.