Watch | FIRSTHAND: Life After Prison
After serving 24 years, Nicholas Crayton is only days away from being released from an innovative prison known as a Life Skills Re-Entry Center in Kewanee, Illinois. We follow Nicholas as he walks through the prison gates, and begins the next chapter of his life. While he’s set his sights on starting his own tech company, the challenges of adapting to life outside prove harder than he’s imagined.
Kyle Hilbert, a recovering heroin and crack cocaine addict, has been locked up more than 20 times and experienced homelessness. This time, with the assistance of an addiction recovery center, Kyle is determined to stay clean, so he can repair his relationship with his family, and pursue a new love interest.
Paul S. served 15-and-a-half years in prison for aggravated child molestation. His challenges include the prohibitions placed on sex offenders, and the stigma that "once a sex offender, always a sex offender." Determined to move forward with his life, Paul has found religion and true love.
Tawana Pope had committed crimes to support her lifelong struggles with drug and alcohol addition. After her last stint in jail, she made a decision to change her life. Now an ordained minister and author, she is giving hope to many former and currently incarcerated people.
Marcelo de Jesus Velazquez
A man on a mission, Marcelo de Jesus Velazquez is making up for lost time after spending 20 years behind bars. He’s building a career, reuniting with his mother and son, and even lobbying state legislators for prison reform. But he realizes he can’t do it alone: Marcelo is seeking out supportive housing and additional services.
The Hurt, the Harm, and the Healing
Navigating life after incarceration without addressing trauma often leads people right back into the prison system. Orlando Mayorga describes how taking part in the trauma-informed Community Anti-Violence Education group supported him in learning about trauma, finding his healing journey, and rediscovering his humanity.
Untangling the Path to Erasing Criminal Records
Regina Hernandez explores the real-life hurdles of life with a criminal record, and unmasks the challenges of expunging and sealing criminal records in Cook County.
Prison After Prison
Marlon Chamberlain reveals the invisible bars called “permanent punishments” that follow people long after their prison sentences have been served.
The Humanity We Deserve
Exploring the shift society needs to make to heal and achieve real safety, Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia describes the universal experience of trauma impacting people who have been incarcerated or worked in and around the criminal justice system.
No Place to Call Home
Ahmadou Dramé reveals the contradictions and punishments embedded in housing policies and practices for people returning to society after incarceration.