Poem written by Anthony Williams while being held inside of the holding cell in the Cole County jail. He was attending the habeas corpus hearing that ultimately determined his freedom. Anthony dedicated this poem to his attorney, Jennifer K. Bukowsky of the Bukowsky Law Firm in Columbia, Missouri.
Ex-Offenders Struggle To Defy The Odds & Overcome
I wrote this to express how blessed my life has been since my release and to share some of the struggles I have had as well re-entering society after a wrongful conviction. In writing this I don’t mean to dwell on the past – I have no regrets. I am looking forward and forging forward! This has been my mission from day one of my release.
Re-entry has not come without difficulty for me as it doesn’t for most ex-prisoners reentering our society. I learned quickly, as most ex-offenders and exonerees do the difficulty of recapturing a life after an extended period of incarceration. It’s so because everything in our society is based off of your past and for an ex-prisoner of any sort this is a major barrier.
Everyone wants to know where have you been living the last year, two years, five years…. How long have you been on your job? How many years of school have you completed? How long have you been paying on your credit cards? Questions like these that follow you every where you go in this society tend to hold a lot of ex-prisoners back who have good intentions. Many of these barriers have hindered me although I have maintained full-time employment for the past two years.
The question is, how do we expect ex-prisoners to get a fresh start and have the opportunity to integrate into our society having to overcome such crippling hurdles to finding housing, employment, etc.? [Read more…]