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PBS NewsHour documentary explores the challenges of life after incarceration

Amna Nawaz:

That’s right.

Well, we just heard from one of those people, Michael Plummer. He was just a kid, Judy, when he was incarcerated, he was 17. He was convicted of murder. And he wasn’t released until he was 40. And one thing he said really stuck with me. He said: “I feel like I will always be in some kind of incarceration, even though I’m free.”

And what he was talking about is that even when you go outside, you encounter this system, over 40,000 laws and rules and regulations that really limit how formerly incarcerated people can work and move and stay even with theirs. family members, how they can be parents, how they can even try to find their footing and reconnect with family and communities and all those support networks that we all need.

So Michael now works two jobs. He’s really trying to cobble together his life, trying to reconnect with a girl who was just a baby when he went to prison and her new granddaughter.

You will meet another man by the name of Michael Cevallo, who tried really hard after his first incarceration as a teenager also to stay on the outside, but each time he found a problem, trying to find a job, finding stable housing and ended up in jail. . He has now been incarcerated for more of his life than he has been free.

You will meet a woman named Rachel Schuyler, who had an incredibly abusive and traumatic childhood. She lost custody of one of her children during her last sentencing and is now fighting to get her daughter back.

And you’ll also meet a woman named Renee Wyatt, who is kind of the exception to the rule, in that she got out and stayed out. And she is now trying to counsel other formerly incarcerated women to ensure they also stay out.

But, Judy, this sociologist we’re talking to, a man named Reuben Jonathan Miller, says it best. He says the system is really trying to prevent people from reentering society.


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