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Difficulties To Adjust To Life Outside Of Prison

Difficulties To Adjust To Life Outside Of Prison

By Timothy Riley

It is very hard after 5 years in prison to come out to a very different world. This world is filled with temptation. Some of these are alcohol, drugs, and sex. Someone who lives in this new world is the give ups. They don’t get work; they can’t find housing they can’t even deal with the most basics of life. So instead of keep on fighting they give up. Some resign themselves to forever live in the shelters; others do drugs, alcohol or get into such a mental problem they cannot get themselves out.

When I left the Oakhill Correctional Institution January 16, 2013 it was with about $200.00. The battle started my first day when I was dropped on the corner of Main and Pinckney at the US bank. I have met some wonderful people. Others have not been there for me. The man that was supposed to help me my first day had a doctor’s appointment and we played phone tag without me having a phone which made this game so hard. From there I ended up at the MUMS( Madison Urban Ministry) where I met two men. One was named Mr. Darby, and the other was Mark. These men did what they had to in order to help me. Mr. Darby and Mark loaded Mr. Darby car with my boxes. It was not easy task as I had six boxes and they were not light. I had no intentions of having to move them as much as I had to my first day.

My next thing was to get my stuff stored. The people at the Hospitality house which is a porch light entity helped me with a voucher to get a locker, and free clothing. Both these things were needed and very much appreciated. I then went to Vinnies Lockers on Culman Street. They took my picture and gave me a card to identify myself and be able to have access to my stuff. Now you cannot store just anything here, but most things you can. They give you access to your stuff two times a week once on Wednesday 3-5pm and Saturdays 8:30-10:30am. It was such a blessing.

The next fears that went through my head were what will I eat, and what will the men’s shelter be like? Will these guys try to rob me of what little money I have? Now the first day you go to the mens shelter you get to spend the night at 116 W Washington. From then on you have two choices and these are Shelter #2 St John’s Church on Washington or #3 First United Methodist church. They are both nice places, but unlike shelter #1 you have to sleep on the floor. Being disabled it was difficult to do this. I did finally get a medical slip so I could use just the shelter #1.

No, most of these places are run by volunteers of they have the assistance of these wonderful people.
Like at the shelters the food is brought in by local church groups. They do a lot to help those in need. You would think that once someone is out of this homeless situation they would have a better chance. Well that has not been the case with me. While I am one of the lucky people who after 30 days on the streets is now in a one bedroom efficiency apartment. Now two issues come up. How do you take care of the most basic needs when you have no income? I do not have the simple things like a mop, broom or any way to clean up my apartment. Then comes to how to do laundry? We have a washer and dryer in the building, but It takes money. Where does this money come from? Lately I have had to take money out of what I set aside for my cell phone. If I cannot get a job or someone who has promised to send me money comes through my phone only Has 30 days left.

One of the biggest problems that I am fighting is the Department of Corrections left me with unmet medical needs and now these needs are costing my money I do not have. So far I am up over $10,000.00 in medical bills because the people in the Department of Corrections would not pay for hernia surgery as they said one it was a luxury or not necessary surgery and could be done upon release. Ok! Now what? I still need the surgery so I am not in pain all the time, and I may be able to function normally.

My last problem is one involving the Social Security to get money for being disabled. It seems like they want to make up all sorts of excuses not to extend me temporary or some other benefits until I have my surgery, now on top of that I must fight to get some sort of Medicaid to assist to pay the mounting medical expenses.
Life is not fair and it does not matter whether you are homeless, unemployed or whatever these things can hit you just like they did me. These things are not factored by income, sex race or any other thing. They affect or can affect anyone.

These are simply my opinions and my story they do not reflect any views any agency who publishes this may feel.

You may ask what needs to be changed or what can be done. Most of these groups run on donations by common people. The next time that you see someone who is dirty or hungry or cold think about giving your time and money to support places where these people like me can go to get a second lease on life. I was one of the lucky ones who has an apartment. My struggles do not stop there as I do not have money to buy simple things like a toaster, mixer and other kitchen items. I also am struggling with how to wash my clothes in the next few weeks as finally all my money is gone.

It was because of someone or a group of someones that I got this chance to get out. I urge others to give and support these groups who can best delegate the money to those in need.

Thank you to Porchlight, Inc., Sina Davis, Sarah Gillmore, Z, Ronnie, Dorothy, the members of the Unitarian churches, Madison Urban Ministry especially Mr. Darby, Mr. James Hawk, Mark. Thank you also to churches like Bethel Lutheran, First united Methodist, and others for their needed and continued assistance. It is nice to see that people are actually reading and acting out the bible by their charitable hearts and lives.


About Operation Welcome Home

OWH is a group of homeless people in Madison, WI and their allies organizing around the root causes of homelessness- racism, poverty, and criminalization. We are fighting for housing, jobs, and an end to the criminalization of poverty.


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