Sitting at her kitchen table in Chester, in her moments of deepest despair, Dayna Chandler, 33, began this calculation: Maybe her three children would be better off if she were dead. A former bank teller, she had a criminal conviction for theft, had been in prison and hadn’t been able to keep a job for four years, not with that record, even though it was only a misdemeanor.
Twenty-four hours a day for 10 weeks, inmates in maroon uniforms with “D.O.C.” stamped on the backs held a death vigil over Frank Rodriguez. His colon cancer was terminal, but he refused to die – not behind the barbed wire and bars of Graterford Prison.
HARRISBURG – State officials are launching the first statewide council to help former prison inmates navigate the challenges of finding housing, work and health care as they adjust to life outside bars. – Sarah Mearhoff, Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News
At age 35, Jermaine Myers has spent most of his adult life incarcerated. The cycle started when he was 16, charged with armed robbery as an adult. He got out at age 21 with the idea of getting a commercial driver’s license. Instead, he said, “I went back to drugs and guns within two months.”
To be sure, many people coming from prison will return to a life of crime. That’s been the experience of career prosecutor George Parry, now a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia. “I’m sure there are people who make a mistake and go to prison and change their lives,” he said.