Admittedly, the first two years out of prison were a difficult time for me. In the span of four days, I had unsuccessfully attempted five separate suicide attempts after learning my probation officer intended to violate me for breaching the terms and conditions of my release. I had been 27 months into a 36-month probation. Going back meant losing my job, house, and car – basically, my life. Further, the thought of having to once again be ever-vigilant and constantly (hyper-) aware of my prison surroundings, caused untold stress. Then, the depression set in.
But that happened five years ago.
Since that time, I have forged meaningful relationships in the community where I live. I created a legally-registered company that won a significant sum of grant money for having a business model that sought promoting people over profits. My wife works with me along with her adopted special needs kiddo who accepts me as his step-father. We seek to loan out our skills, mine in video content creation and she in listening to the needs of others and providing guidance from her many years of human resource management.
After spending nearly 25 years in prison for two sexual offenses (one federal and one state), both involving minors over the age of twelve but younger than sixteen, I haven’t had any real issues with the registry. So far, I can recall only three instances were other workers searched my name online. Of course, since I’m on the registry, it didn’t take long before being let go. I turned these instances into lessons, and then made them the fuel to create my own business selling my book, apparel, and invention. With the help of my wife and step-son, we have created entertaining videos depicting a normal family just like any other.
There is life after prison and still more while on the registry. But, I believe we all have to pitch in to lift those of us who feel they are alone. They need to know we are all in this together, at least as long as we are all on the registry. We can either stand idly by and allow life’s currents to take us where it wills, or we can define a better future for all by accepting our past and embracing our future, but focusing on the here and now. What you do today will always determine what happens tomorrow, and the past, is just that: passed.