Friday, February 22, 2008

What are some of the challenges that face women readjusting to life after being incarcerated ?

The things I have readjusted to are living life period, with a sober mind. Also, dealing with problems as they come in an adult manner without getting angry, because I do not have a solution or that things are not going to go my way. It all depends on what I want out of this life, the one I have left. Today, right now, I want something more then I have settled for in my past and I see that it is going to take work; physically, with a job and mentally to deal with situations as they arise. To act or handle things differently than I have in the past, which takes lots of thought for me because I am used to doing the first thing that comes to mind and today I realize I have choices. I do not do anything without running it pass another person who I trust and whose judgment I value. This helps keep me safe. Last, but not least, I would say spiritually I must keep my GOD first, without his guidance and strength there would be no me or the positive people he has placed in my life everyday. This is truly a test to see what I want in life. Once I pass one test, he will give me more in my life. Everyday is a learning experience, also a challenge for me.
Now I have yet another obstacle in my life to deal with. My ex-husband is trying to play games with my daughter's mind. He tells her that he has grown attached to her and that he does not want her to leave him. I did not see this coming. It is terrible because I love her with each breath I take. Am I going fall and crumble the way he wants so he can keep her? Or do I stand in the midst of my trials? We have joint custody, so in the end it is up to her. He thought I would have failed by now and this would never be an issue for him, but I am not failing. I believe it is unfortunate that he wants to see me fall down, all these years I thought he really cared. This makes me want to push myself even more, so I can see what I’m really made of. I am enjoying this ride. Each day changes, but one thing that remains forever non-changing is my FAITH and knowing that there are good things ahead for me. They say trouble never last anyways and I try to hold that close to my heart. They say we have to start at the bottom and today I am willing to do just that for a better tomorrow. That is all I ask for, a better tomorrow. I hope these words of encouragement help touch another woman's life out there. Thank you for the opportunity to allow me to lift another up. -age 39

The most challenging thing is to get a job. It may not be as hard as it seems, but I find myself afraid of the questions the employers may ask. I have only worked 2 jobs in my 35 years, and the both were in the jails. I'm not afraid of work, but I wish a job would fall right into my hands(lol). Each day I pray for strength and courage, so I know i will be O.K -age 35

Acceptance for how your family truly feels. We hurt our family's more than we realize by going to jail, so when we are released they are going to go through a lot of emotions that we want fix. But, only time and are actions of improvement can do so. Also, forgiveness for ourselves. We tend to hold on to what we have done which really hinders our progress which can lead to empty promises. -age 46

Mainly the most challenges I have faced are in obtaining employment. It is never easy getting a new job when so many people with either better or less qualified then you. But when you add a felony on top of that you get a very negative response. It seems that people are not always open to a person's mistakes. Everyone make errors in there life, but if is extremely hard for a ex-offender to obtain employment. As long a we try and continue to give all we can, we end up getting rewarded for our struggles. It is never easy to get out of prison or jail and start new. It takes time. I can only say that people need to start realizing ex-offenders should be given every opportunity that a non-offender receives. And we need more individual financial help. A lot of women and men getting out of prison don't have money to afford a bus token. We need more available resource for small things too. -age 36

I face challenges everyday either big or small. The most challenge for me is obtaining a Dental position. I was let down with my first working interview job. Truly speaking, it has made me stronger. I push even harder today. It's easy for me to do wrong, some times it's uncomfortable to do what's right. I make it a daily challenge to be where I am suppose to be and not where I don't want to be. For me, living itself is an everyday challenge. A challenge that I will get through successfully, with GOD as my leader. -age 32

I think finding a job with the negative aspect of having a big hole in your resume when you were incarcerated is my biggest challenge. Also, it seems most women have no where to go but back to where they got in trouble in the first place. Having a safe place to start over with supported people is hard to come by. My problem is alcohol. I went to jail for a 3rd DUI. So for folks with addiction problems, people, places and things are big deterrents to starting a good life and if you don't have somewhere to go away from these things that are not positive, well I think your chances for recovery are greatly diminished. -age 45