Coming out of prison, the only job he could get was cleaning toilets. They follow the news along with soap operas and wrestling -- there are just so many episodes , so it's a great way to pass time. They learn about the world through a screen instead of firsthand, but hey, so do you. Still, some changes have to be seen to be believed. Wayne wasn't in jail that long and dutifully maintained a Wired subscription while inside, but he still walked out thinking razor-thin flip-phones were technological marvels.
Then someone plopped an iPhone in his lap, and that was the end of that idea. With Chris, he basically missed the '90s, so he walked out to learn cassettes still popular in prison had vanished from the civilized world. Plus, there was something called the Internet around.
And other innovations, which you probably don't even think about: It was now possible to pay for your gas right at the pump. Last year, at age 40, Chris was legally allowed to vote for the first time.
That's kind of weird for someone born and raised in the United States. But Chris went into prison in Virginia at 18, then came out to find you can't vote as an ex-con.
Then in , he moved to New York, where the law's different. These rules are arbitrary and vary from state to state. In Virginia, some felons can apply to get their vote back ; in Florida and Iowa, all felons lose the vote permanently; in Maine, no criminals lose the vote, and they can even vote while still in jail. These restrictions first popped up back in the s and '70s. This was a time when the country was deciding how to handle 4 million newly freed slaves, and when the 15th Amendment gave them the vote men, at least , legislators suggested taking it right back by denying the vote to felons, since ex-slaves kept being arrested for bullshit reasons.
Today, the restriction keeps more than one in eight black men from voting nationwide one in five black adults, in some states. They block 6 million people total, enough to change a whole lot of elections , including the control of the Senate throughout the '90s and definitely the presidential race.
May 1, And getting into a relationship with an ex-convict can seem like a big red flag. It isn't always, though. There are three major questions to ask. Feb 16, Black Americans are incarcerated at a higher rate than all other To help women who are dating or are married to current or former prisoners.
There are campaigns to fix these bans, including a bill in the House. But it's hard to get the American public to give a shit about voting at all, much less the voting rights of criminals. Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles. The [parole officer] can show up at your place of employment, drug test you whenever they want, search your home and vehicles without a warrant. Wayne recalls his year-and-a-half on parole as a series of bullshit forms he had to submit, letting authorities know about every mile he drove and every dollar he spent.
He wore a drug-testing patch on his arm; this spat out a false positive when he had to take meds for a kidney stone. But maybe the weirdest part was the total ban on drinking alcohol.
Alcohol is legal, he'd never had any kind of drinking problem, and his offenses hadn't involved alcohol in any way -- but the rules still said no liquor. People are usually surprised when they learn that Wayne's an ex-con, but most aren't judgmental. Maybe that's because he was in for drugs, and people are gradually realizing drug laws are stupid.
Still, most don't care at all: Wayne's grandmother came to visit recently, bearing an heirloom rifle as a gift. As a felon, Wayne couldn't accept the gun he's a non-violent felon, but that's the law , but the news didn't shake grandma. She just said, "I don't care what he did in the past, as long as he's not in trouble now. No law against that The longer you spend in prison, the harder it is to get back to normal. Chris says the TV show Rectify is really good at showing how socially awkward prisoners are in the real world. I carried that with me into the free world. When Chris' second wife left him, she got full custody of their daughter easily.
The last time he saw the girl, she was convinced that her stepdad was her father.
To them, I was and will always be someone who did bad things, did drugs, and went to prison. Wayne's got a girlfriend now, and he's thankful for the support system he has. Chris lives next door to the town mayor, and he's on wife number three. He's at least dealing with his past with a sense of humor: You deserve to have someone in your life who makes your life better, not worse.
Did your potential boyfriend jaywalk and then talk back to a police officer, earning him a night in the jail? These are two drastically different situations, each revealing different character traits. Find out exactly what the crime was before rushing to judgment. Why would you subject yourself or your family to this kind of stress?
Remember, rule number one is always that you deserve to be happy and in a healthy relationship. Everyone has character blemishes. Is the crime indicative of who they are now or who they were? Prison rarely rehabilitates anyone. Most people in jail only learn how to become better criminals. Again, there is a big difference between someone spending the night in prison and a hardened criminal who just came home from a fifteen-year stint in the slammer.
If it is the latter, I would probably advise you to run. Does he regret what happened or does he feel bad that he got caught? Evolved adults take responsibility for their lives and their actions. Does this person have a victim mentality or own up to the fact that he committed a crime? Has this person worked on removing the belief system that made them commit the crime to begin with? For example, anyone with a history of violence against women will continue with these issues in different forms unless receiving some sort of treatment. Again, prison alone should not be considered as a source of rehabilitation.
No one should ever humiliate or belittle you. We all have the ability to rise and shine but the best predictor of past behavior is often future behavior UNLESS a person takes action to interrupt patterns of behavior. So, where is he now regarding the case? Is he out on bail? Does he need to check in with a parole officer?
Is he on probation with a curfew? There are some cases where you should just run.
While we want to believe in the best for everyone, not every person is able to be rehabilitated. If you have even the slightest bit of doubt, then it is time bid your prison lover a fond adieu, especially if you have children. In the case of the woman who sent me the advice letter, her partner was not open or honest.
She learned about his criminal past from an acquaintance. This is another red flag.