“Second Chance students are given the prospect of truly changing their lives and the opportunity to reclaim their humanity, as the respect and consideration they are shown by the program are in turn given back to their fellow students and to their communities. And it’s hugely cost effective.”
Dr. Raymond Fong, Article by Louise Rafkin, City College counselor steers former inmates to education, The Bay Citizen*
Angela Davis responded to this article with this comment:
“It has been such a struggle attending college after a life of addiction, prostitution, ill-gotten gains and complete loss of all dignity. It is not easy picking your face up off of the floor and looking the world in the eyes, especially when the world tends to look so far down on you.”
She praised Dr. Fong for the help he gave her.
The article doesn’t emphasis getting work, although many members work as drug counselors, social workers and activists. Second Chance sounds like a worthwhile program. We all live up or down to the opinion we have of ourselves. However, I hope Dr. Fong emphasizes the reality of getting work once out of prison. It may take time to get that first job.
In my blog, Ex-Inmates Earning Trust, Dr. Williams talks about obstacles such as background checks she can’t pass as she works on her PhD. At the writing of the blog, she earned ten dollars an hour as a shift leader.
Education alone may not keep prisoners strong. Often, new self-respect must withstand jobs below an ex-offender’s education level. Angela can deservedly feel proud for having followed the long road to getting an education. However, those ingrained feelings she mentions may return easily. Until an inmate knows the worth we get from God—trusting in Him and leaning on His love—willpower can waver.
Inmates should understand that any job is a good job in the beginning. Forewarned, they can take the menial job while they persist in looking for the job they deserve through their education. If they keep trying, they will get better jobs in time.
*The Bay Citizen website may be down. I wasn't able to link to the article about Dr. Fong. If you can't click through, please try later.
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