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Girls Use Lived Expertise to Struggle for Second Probabilities for Incarcerated Girls: ‘I Am Not an Everlasting Felony’


Girls like Ruby Welch and Cynetra Freeman are turning their ache into energy by serving to previously incarcerated people take advantage of their second probability.

Cynetra Freeman, proper, is the founding father of Mississippi for Reentry. (X)

After 13 years behind bars for a criminal offense that he didn’t commit, Charles “C.J.” Rice lastly reentered society as a free man on March 18, 2024. Whereas his struggle for justice has come to an finish, in some methods his struggle for freedom is just simply starting. 

Anybody who has personally skilled our felony authorized system is aware of that freedom isn’t so simple as simply being launched. Leaving the confines of the jail partitions doesn’t remove boundaries. In reality, the world they enter into could also be way more daunting than the one they knew earlier than. These people want and deserve greater than a few {dollars} and a one-way bus ticket to beat these difficulties. 

Regardless of solely being about 5 p.c of the worldwide inhabitants, the U.S. incarcerates extra folks than another nation, making up greater than 20 p.c of the world’s whole jail inhabitants. In accordance with the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, we see greater than 600,000 folks launched from U.S. prisons annually. This April, Second Likelihood Month, is a chance for us to deliver to mild the difficulties for these in search of a profitable return again to society.

The on a regular basis struggles of life multiply ten-fold for previously incarcerated people as soon as launched. These boundaries can embrace revoked voting rights, restricted entry to schooling, lack of job alternatives and psychological well being challenges. Efficiently addressing these challenges is crucial for enhancing outcomes and decreasing recidivism, which impacts greater than two-thirds of previously incarcerated people inside three years of their launch.

For these causes and plenty of extra, felony justice advocate Ruby Welch is working to make sure that the chance for a second probability awaits everybody on the opposite facet. Welch spent seven years behind bars in Arkansas and now makes use of her second probability story to encourage others concerning the prospects for all times after jail. 

I did seven years, six months and 5 days on a 30-year sentence and I’m nonetheless not free.

Ruby Welch

Ruby Welch, second from left. (Instagram)

Incarcerated ladies specifically face distinctive challenges in comparison with their male counterparts, and their fee of entry has accelerated at twice the tempo of males over the previous three a long time. Restricted entry to female hygiene merchandise or being positioned in solitary confinement throughout being pregnant can contribute to vital—generally deadly—well being issues which can be usually left unaddressed.

“I’m not an everlasting felony,” Welch mentioned within the Oscar-nominated documentary, The Barber of Little Rock. “I did seven years, six months and 5 days on a 30-year sentence and I’m nonetheless not free. Most incarcerated folks, particularly these with longer sentences, come out with no cash and are generally separated from sturdy assist programs. Individuals discover themselves struggling to acquire primary necessities like toothbrushes, toothpaste and a spot to put their heads at evening.”