We want to show you what PICS is like for most Returning Citizens and why recidivism is so high. Below is a typical occurrence many Returning Citizens experience. Do you recognize the signs of PICS and where with PICS Informed management Jason could have a different outcome?
Jason froze in his steps when he heard “Hey, didn’t you hear me ten minutes ago when I told you to clear this shit out of here convict!” Mitt, the foreman, yelled near his face and way too close for Jason’s comfort. The interaction took him back to prison. To a time when Lt. Mitchell yelled the same command as he struck him hard on his back with a black baton. Jason’s body reacted automatically to foreman Mitt’s command by bending over. He recalled the pain ripping through his body as if it just happened.
“Yea, I’m on it now!” Jason replied. Reaching for a shank that wasn’t there. Jason quickly rose when he realized the position he had assumed.
After he had moved the pile of debris, Jason hurried outside to his beat-up red truck. He reached for the joint hidden inside his left sock and lit it, not caring if anyone saw him. He had to calm his nerves down. “For weeks I’ve been having these prison nightmares and I’ll be dammed if I’ma come to work and deal with a motherfucker treating me like I’m still a prisoner.” Jason said out loud.
Mitt shook his head, murmuring under his breath, “They should’ve keep your stupid ass in there.”
On payday Jason went into the office to pick up his check.
“You alright? Sally the payroll clerk asked, as she handed Jason a white envelope. “You are missing a lot of days.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m okay. Just dealing with a lot of bull crap.”
As Jason walked away he torn the envelope open, “Fuck, I can’t pay rent!” he thought.
Jason stopped at a check cashing center, where he paid three percent of his check to get cash. Then went to Coney Island and ordered their special; three Coney dogs, fries, and a large coke. This was his meal every work day being that it only cost ten bucks. Jason thought eating out was cheaper than shopping and cooking. On his way back to his room he stopped and copped a dime bag and a fifth of gin.
Being lock up for 15 years Jason never had to pay rent or budget for bills. Like everyone else who didn’t have loved ones on the outside putting money on their books, he had to hustle for the extras prison didn’t provide. For now, he was comfortable with the game borrow from Peter to pay Paul.
The next morning Mr. & Mrs. Brown showed up for the rent. Jason didn’t have it. They had him pack and leave the keys.
Over the next couple weeks Jason lived in his truck, taking showers at the worksite when he could, that is, when he showed up. Mitt caught him stealing from one of the sites and immediately fired him.
On the way back to where he had parked Jason realized his truck was missing. He called the police only to find it had been impounded and it would cost him over $900 dollars to get released. Money he did not have.
Rock bottom came fast as Jason ate out of trash cans and slept in abandoned buildings.
Eventually, the time came for him to report to Mr. Kirkman, his parole officer, who called the shelter and gave him a bus token to get there. At the shelter Jason, met a few guys to hang out with. They all took turns begging on the street corners. At the end of the day, they shared some Coney Island specials and a bottle of gin.
Late one night Jason was standing along the side of a building watching a well-dressed young woman walking in his direction. Without thinking Jason decided to rob her. Like a shadow he crept back into the darkness along the side of the building so she could not see him. As soon as she passed, he moved out of the shadow, hurried behind her grabbing her purse and running away. A police officer heard the woman screams. Unfortunately for Jason the cop was standing in the direction he ran. Jason was arrested and returned to prison to serve out the remainder of his prison sentence and the new charges he was facing. By PendaTe
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