by Ross Ulbricht
In nearly a decade in prison, I have met many men who are near the end of their sentences and preparing to go home. More often than not (to my surprise), they are afraid. Having spent years or decades in an institution, most have lost the bulk of their support network and resources they once had. Often, the people left are the same bad influences that helped get them to prison in the first place.
Going free after all that time away from society is a bit like time travel. They are entering a future they aren’t prepared for and don’t understand.
Of course, it’s exciting too. There are so many new opportunities and experiences compared to life in prison, but newly freed people need all the help they can get. Thankfully, there are some great organizations out there that have been working hard to help former prisoners onto a successful path. Four that we are supporting through Art4Giving are Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP), Ex-Cons for Community and Social Change (ECCSC), Operation New Hope, and Getting Out & Staying Out (GOSO).
If you have have the means, I encourage you to support them too. Former prisoners are our new neighbors. Let’s show them a warm welcome home.