‘I’ve had about 176 clients. My responsibility is to make sure when they’re getting ready to transition out of prison, resources are available to them.’
“I first became aware of Network Support Services Inc. when I was in Otisville State Correctional Facility serving a 25-year sentence for an offense I didn’t commit.
“The residential prison program is designed for individuals who believe they need change, empowering incarcerated people to transform their lives and reenter society as productive citizens with a renewed sense of purpose.
“I became a group leader conducting sessions discussing stresses, concerns and long- and short-term goals. We created programs geared towards bettering ourselves. Network is a positive environment for human development in a caring community where individuals help themselves and each other. It’s like a brotherhood, so we look out for each other.
Time is precious.
“While participating in the program for two years, I rose up to become coordinator. I was released in May 2017 and placed on parole. Upon my release, the former executive director, who had a vision of this therapeutic organization, made me outreach coordinator.
“Since then, I’ve had about 176 clients. My responsibility is to make sure when they’re getting ready to transition out of prison, resources are available to them. We network in the prison, where I have the privilege of communicating with the guys.
“We network in the community, where it’s an ongoing therapeutic treatment that these guys will receive upon their reentry. We assess what they need: a debit card, Social Security card, employment, housing and transportation.
“They have to complete our 12-week programming in the community if mandated. My commitment to the people of New York is to reduce the recidivism rate of incarceration. This is the goal of Network. Providing housing and employment for the formerly incarcerated helps prevent them from re-offending.
“I believe that they are the ones who are going to really transform this world because they’ve come from a different world that society has no clue of what’s going on, and they’re at a greater advantage than normal people out here.
“Time is precious. I used my time in prison by developing a disciplined lifestyle. I allowed my mind to be set on positive ideas so that I can apply that same disciplined lifestyle in the community.”
Interviewed by Liza Burby