Stories

Formerly incarcerated Americans reentering society aren't statistics, they're humans.  Here are some of their stories.

Man of moral turpitude

Sentenced to life imprisonment plus 115 years, Ronald Thomas-Bey walked into the library of the Maryland Correctional Facility one day, intent on fighting his case.  38 years later, he won his freedom.  Ronald developed a profound love for the law during his efforts to get himself and fellow inmates released, and is now a paralegal in the process of applying to law school.

 

Freedom Through Faith

Jerita's is a story about the power of family and faith in recovery. After battling addiction and involvement in drug dealing, being in and out of incarceration for 35 years, and losing much of her family during that incarceration, Jerita has found renewed strength in her faith and relationship with God. Today, though she struggles with many of the structural impediments facing returning citizens, such as housing and employment, Jerita has been clean for over four years and cherishes the loving support of her Uncle, Aunt, and Godfather. 

Life After Juvenile Incarceration

Brett Oye is a returning citizen and manager of a prominent Georgetown-area restaurant. Following an escalation of personal and family struggles during his teenage years, Brett was incarcerated for 18 months for committing a violent assault. Ultimately, he wants to share his experiences, help others, and serve as an advocate and role model for those who must overcome challenges to chase their dreams. 

 

Building Community through Faith, Activism and Love

After 38 years of imprisonment, Etta Myers was released as the first woman under the Unger case. She now serves as the Director of the Maryland Justice Project focusing on prison reform. Through her faith, perseverance, and activism, she continues to advocate for the rights of formerly incarcerated individuals and others affected by mass incarceration.

 

Second chances

In 2004, Evans Ray was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 10 years for a non-violent drug offense, due to harsh repeat offense laws. He served twelve and a half years before receiving clemency from President Obama. Today, Evans works as a youth counselor and mentor for Community Empowerment Leadership Academy. He has also established a non-profit called New Beginnings to advise and prevent formerly incarcerated individuals from recidivating.

One day at a time

Meet Monte Pollard, the director of community outreach at the D.C. Mayor’s Office for  Returning Citizens. Monte’s journey began as an at risk-youth in a community riddled with drugs and crime. After being sentenced to 6 years in prison, Monte has committed himself to bettering his community as a public servant dedicated to combatting recidivism and providing mentorship to other returning citizens. Hear his heart-wrenching yet inspiring story here.