The Tennessean published an article last year about a woman whose life changed dramatically after a traffic stop that led to felony charges. Her charges were dropped three years later, but the damage of the charges had been done. She lost her job. She lost her opportunity to work toward creating her own company. She lost her son. These changes are typical when it comes to felonies. When someone receives a felony charge, his or her life changes completely, including the loss of jobs, connection to families, housing, and future aspirations. 

When people come to TPOM, we see the potential obstacles that they face because of the variety of ways the system impacts their lives. People often leave prison with a bus ticket and $30 but without their identification or medication. Then employers might be reluctant to hire someone with a felony on their record. Landlords might deny people a place to stay either by requiring background checks or credit checks. People often leave prison with little to no credit and do not have the time to (re)build any before they need a place to stay. Furthermore, they have to figure out how to navigate the legal system again as they work to regain custody of their kids. 

Things are taken away immediately but are hard to build back. And it all connects. Someone needs identification in order to get a job. A person needs a job in order to build up income and to get a place to live, but usually a place to live is a requirement of a job. Someone needs credit to have a place to rent, but a job and credit card are needed to build credit. A decent home is needed to be able to have a child live with them, but a job is essential to being able to provide for the child’s needs. 

Everything intersects. It takes time and is not always an easy ride to establish a stable life after prison. TPOM recognizes the steps needed in order to advance through the reentry process, and TPOM supports individuals on their journeys to regain employment, a bank account, a job, credit, resources, and connections to their families. It’s possible, but it takes faith, a community, resources, and hard work. 

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