Money Helped Me Thrive In Prison And After It. Most Aren’t So Lucky.

by Marie Rodriguez

My federal prison sentence ended three months ago, and for a person who’s been free for that long, it would seem that I have performed pretty well. During my closing year of confinement, I moved right into a halfway house and enrolled at Portland State University; I acquired excessive educational honors and an upcoming at-overseas scholarship to South America. I got a job as an interpreter for a clinical contractor, using the Spanish I learned in prison. Does that suggest prison “worked” for me? Or have I controlled to thrive just because I became most of the 1 percent of prisoners in the first region?

Money Helped Me Thrive In Prison And After It. Most Aren’t So Lucky. 3

Six months earlier than my arrest on a drug fee, my mother died of a prescription drug overdose. I obtained $ ninety-six 000 in life insurance. I may have squandered it on tablets—something to numb the grief—but she had arranged for it to be doled out to me in monthly stipends.

I nonetheless had exams coming in when I turned into an arrest. I signed power of attorney over to my godmother, who might deposit cash into my jail account each time I requested it.

That supposed that over the three and 1/2 years I was incarcerated, I could spend more than $20,000 on meals and toiletries at the commissary and the social and economic lifeline of smartphone calls and emails. That’s how much it charges for holding a connection to the genuine international—and therefore to capacity destiny success—from prison.

Here’s a breakdown:
  • Three hundred smartphone minutes, the monthly limit, at 21 cents a minute for home lengthy-distance calls = $ sixty-three/per month
  • 2,seven-hundred month-to-month minutes of emailing = $a hundred thirty five/month
  • Five month-to-month video visits = $30
  • Maximum monthly limit at commissary = $360/month
  • That adds as much as $588 in keeping with a month. And in jail, we make cents at the hour at exceptional if we can even get a task.
For everybody without outside assistance, one’s expenses are out of attaining.

But I knew I had to pay the charge to maintain my guide community and reduce my risk of returning to prison someday. Given my crime, I changed into already considering a “low-chance” culprit and became capable of similarly lessening my “risk” by preserving this line to the arena. I used the five cents-per-minute Corrlinks email gadget as a platform for advocacy for myself. I wrote a piece of writing that became posted by The Marshall Project, which required several $1.50 classes for enhancement. It altered the direction of my existence because it made my name obtainable and gave me credibility.

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