This is the fourth post in our series Voices from the Inside, which asks individuals currently incarcerated in Illinois county jails the question, What kind of world do you want to return to?
“I would like to come back to a world where we are able to get a second opportunity in life. A world where we are able to earn our rights back. A chance to remove the brand off our shoulders. A chance to live a normal life – to live a worry-free life where we don’t have to worry about being judged or harassed just because we are felons. These are the problems people like me have to deal with after we paid the price for our crime. As soon as we are released from prison we would have to check in at a local Police Department to see if it’s okay to stay at the place we’re planning to live at. Make sure there’s no schools or parks around the area. After that we would have to check in our phone, our car, the job where we work at, any new tattoo, hair, or beard. If we wanna go out of state to visit our loved ones, we would have to check in as well. Not to mention the fee we have to pay every year just to register ourselves. If we fail to do any of these things or miss the date to register, the law enforcement will pick us up and send us right back to jail and repeat everything. These are the things we deal with for the rest of our living life. Where is the freedom in that? I would like to return to a world where we are able to prove ourselves. Show them that we are worthy. My name is Joel B. I would like to return to a world to get a chance to earn my rights.”
—Joel B., Kendall County Jail, Illinois