Imagine you are a convicted felon and you have been locked up for 5 years and it’s almost time for you to be released back into society, what do you do? How do you maneuver? How are you going to make a way for yourself? How do you cover the basics like housing, finding a job, and your mind-state. You have been incarcerated for the last 5 years, you’ve been institutionalized and your mind is just a bit different.
The original intent of incarceration in America is to “rehabilitate” the offender but that rarely happens these days. Prison is just a way to store people and make money with the privatization of prisons these days. Offenders often come out as better criminals but there are some that choose to try to do something different and positive when they return home but that becomes damn near impossible with the stigma of a felony on your record. America is supposed to be the land of 2nd chances but for many, incarceration is the beginning of a downward spiral that becomes a cycle; lack of resources leads to crime to get resources which leads to incarceration which makes it difficult to find a job which leads to more crime because of the lack of resources.
For many inmates there is a desire to improve their lives and the lives of their family and to that end there is the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable which is a community that values and supports the successful reentry and integration of formerly incarcerated persons and individuals with criminal histories. The mission of the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable is to be a robust collaborative to promote public safety through effective reentry and reintegration of formerly incarcerated persons and individuals with criminal histories. We recently sat down with Darwin Hamilton who serves as an Executive Committee Member. Darwin’s roots in East Austin run deep and he had some great info to share with us.