As many as 600,000 prisoners are released from jails every year across the country. In New York alone, that number is approximately 23,000, according to a 2013 report by the Bureau Of Justice Statistics.
What happens to these people when they leave prison?
The Bureau of Justice Assistance defines reentry as the “transition of offenders from prisons or jails back into the community.”
But reentry issues or the problems faced by ex-prisoners when they reenter the world range widely. I explore facets of these issues through the stories of three people: Anjelique Wadlington, Rasun Smith, and Cadeem Gibbs.
Anjelique Wadlington, 29, is a juvenile justice activist. She was imprisoned at 17. Ten years after her experience in confinement, she mentors incarcerated girls, gives talks to criminal justice students, and speaks at international conventions. In this talk she gave at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, she addresses some reentry issues including employment. She also particularly notes how reentry is more difficult for Long Islanders.
Rasun Smith, who is using a pseudonym, is fighting an abandonment case against the state. His name was put on The State Central Registry as a child offender. However, he did not abandon his child. His proof of it is that he was incarcerated when his child was taken away nearly 13 years ago. If he wins the case, he hopes to reunite with his daughter, who now would be 16 years old.
In the above photo, Smith is meeting with his lawyer, Emily Hoffman at the Community Service Society, to work out his case. In this video, Smith recounts his experience:
Cadeem Gibbs is a 24-year-old from Harlem. He has come into contact with the criminal system when he was 12, and at 16, was put in Riker’s Island on a drug charge. When he got out, he was homeless, had trouble applying for grants to get into school, faced employment discrimination and other issues. Here is his story: