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FIRSTHAND: Life After Prison

Imagine being 18 years old, possibly a witness to – or victim of – abuse. You turn to drugs or alcohol, or maybe you join a gang. And on one disastrous day, a loaded gun in your hand forever changes the course of your life. You are convicted of a felony and sent to prison, to spend a quarter-century or more locked away from the rest of the world. Read more...

You serve your time, and suddenly, as a middle-aged adult, you find yourself outside prison walls with nothing but a few dollars, a bus ticket to the nearest big city, and a list of homeless shelters in neighborhoods where opportunities are limited. You quickly discover that for various reasons you don’t even qualify for most of those shelters. On top of all of that, you may be struggling with addiction, anxiety, depression, or all of the above. Read more...


In partnership with Injustice Watch and WTTW News


A documentary series following five Chicagoans facing life after prison


Five expert talks by thought leaders offering insights, historical context, and possible solutions

Stories from the Community

Students in DePaul University classroom

Reentry in the News

Lead support for FIRSTHAND: Life After Prison is provided by Ann and Rich Carr.

Additional support is provided by The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation; Leo Krupa Trust (The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of Leo Krupa Trust); Denny and Sandy Cummings; the Marc and Jeanne Malnati Family Foundation; and Alexandra and John Nichols (as of February 20, 2023).