The Justice Imperative: Punishment Beyond Incarceration – Life On The Outside
Maurice has just completed a mandatory minimum sentence for a felony marijuana possession. He has been a model inmate. He earned his GED and successfully completed drug counseling and treatment while behind bars. He is looking forward to starting over and being reunited with his family. His wife and three young kids have had a rough time during his incarceration. Maurice had been the principal bread winner. His family was forced to move in with his wife’s mother in her public housing unit. Maurice leaves prison with $3,000 in debt in respect of court and drug treatment costs. Unbeknownst to Maurice, as a consequence of his conviction, he is now ineligible for federally-funded health and welfare benefits, food stamps, public housing and federal education assistance. His driver’s license has been automatically suspended.
Upon his release, Maurice moved in with his mother-in-law. Following his release, Maurice applied for various jobs without success. Each time he was required to check a box, inquiring as to whether he had ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. Maurice has been forced to take part-time minimum wage jobs in the fast food industry. His paychecks were subject to garnishment orders owing to his indebtedness for his court and drug treatment costs.
After six months of not being able to drive, get a job, find housing or qualify for public benefits, he started doing drugs. Two months later, he was arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana. He is sent back to prison as a repeat offender for violating the conditions of his parole. His mother-in-law is presented with an eviction notice because her lease is governed by the federal government’s “one strike, you’re out” policy. Such policy mandates the termination of a lease if the tenant or a member or guest in his or her household engages in drug-related or criminal activity either on or off premises.
See More: Please go to Chapter Nine in “The Justice Imperative”