Former inmate Terrance Coffie went on to obtain a Master's degree from NYU.
After Release Programs Recidivism in the US

Former Inmate Reveals: Walking Out of a Jail Cell Doesn’t Make a Prisoner Free

Former inmate Terrance Coffie has revealed that walking out of a jail cell is not the same as being completely free. The challenges that many released inmates face out in the streets alone make the security of jail cells more desirable than walking the streets free for some.

Terrance Coffie Mugshot... one of MANY.
Terrance Coffie Mugshot… one of MANY. Image Source: Riviera Busted

Any slip or unintended violation can land a former inmate back to prison on a probation or parole violation. There’s also the chances of reoffending and recidivism.

“I Was Used To Prison, Being Free Made Me Lost and Anxious,” Coffie Says

Coffie spent 19 years in and out of prison for drugs and attempted robberies. He got released back to society eight years ago from the Miami-Dade County jail.

When he was told the charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against him had been dropped, Coffie was very terrified. And the reason was simple: he had nowhere to go and no one to turn to for assistance.

“I was used to prison. It had been the only constant in my life. Freedom, on the other hand, made me feel lost and anxious.”

Former inmate Terrance Coffie went on to obtain a Master's degree from NYU.
Former inmate Terrance Coffie went on to obtain a Master’s degree from NYU. Image Source: YouTube

He arrived in New York City “lost, lonely, dirty and hungry.” The former prisoner went into a men’s homeless shelter. There he was introduced to the Ready, Willing and Able transitional work program run by The Doe Fund.

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This a non-profit is a social enterprise that provides former inmates and the homeless with:

  • Temporary shelter
  • Paying jobs
  • General social duties

Being Black & Poor Should Not Make You Resign To Crimes and Prison Life

The Ready, Willing and Able program provided him with a bed and a street cleaning job. The only conditions for being a part of the program was staying sober and attending classes until he was able to secure housing and decent job on his own.

Ex-inmate Terrance Coffie had to stay clean and sober to remain in the Ready, Willing and Able transitional work program.
Ex-inmate Terrance Coffie had to stay clean and sober to remain in the Ready, Willing and Able transitional work program. Image Source: The Journey

In one of the classes, the director of the program told the men his own personal story of addiction and imprisonment. Coffie told them to never allow society to treat them as crap on account of them being Black men in America:

“In prison, I watched my life tick away. I consoled myself with the lie that men like me — black and poor — didn’t have much to do except lose our lives to prison, and hustle in between. Now, for the first time, I imagined my future.”

 Eventually, Terrance Coffie obtained a Master’s degree in social work from New York University.

He became a useful member of society and the author of Race, Education, and Reintegrating Formerly Incarcerated Citizens: Counterstories and Counterspaces (Critical Perspectives on Race, Crime, and Justice).

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The ex-inmate founded the Educate, Don’t Incarcerate, an incarceration to education program. He recently obtained the Leadership in Education Award from Citizens Against Recidivism.

Charles Omedo has a degree in Mass Communication and a PGD in Digital Communication. He worked as a newspaper/magazine reporter and editor for many years. Now, he writes daily news articles for private clients. Charles has written for US/UK/Canadian/Indian clients on various niches. He currently writes prison news for loved ones of inmates on the Prison Rideshare Network.