Voices of Justice Now: We have our own solutions

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Monica Wade was born and raised in Oakland, CA. She is now the Office Manager of Justice Now and is also the founder and director of Tender Care, transitional housing for those who need and want to be in a safe and healthy environment. She was incarcerated for 10 years of her life and knows what goes on behind prison walls and the torture and pain people go through.
Once a person is released, then what? What if they’ve been there 25 years? Then what? Children are all up and grown; rest of the family is dead or married. Where do they go? And how do they support themselves?
Once you’re incarcerated and you get out, things change. The people that you know have changed. The job fields have changed. So you’re dealing with all these changes all around, and you, personally, are changed.
You have to have a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C. You have to be able to take care of yourself. When you’re starting all over from scratch, that takes money. It costs to live.
And that’s where transitional housing comes in. I started Tender Care as support for people coming back to their community. “Community-based� jails and prisons are not the answer. The answer is to provide people with what they are lacking, whether it be a place to stay, a skill, or just a caring hand.
I’ve been around re-entry for over 40 years of my life. I can tell my clients, “I’ve been in your shoes before�. But we need more support for transitional housing that is community-run. All the programs that we offer at Tender Care are by organizations run by ex -felons that have made a difference in the community. We have our own solutions.

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3 Comments

  1. misskatie
    Posted May 14, 2008 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    This is SO important! Bravo. It reminds me of a friend of mine – she is a social worker who recently took a job helping students transition from the city’s juvenile detention facility and their home schools. It’s tough for students because a) they go from a really structured environment to one that is much less structured, and b) a lot of the schools don’t want the kids back. It’s her job to help them make that transition.

  2. cmg
    Posted May 14, 2008 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    i wish there was more programs like these. a close friend who was charged with a felony at just 19 struggled to get a job with that record and as she moved back in with her parents she fell back into the same bad habits. I wonder what wouldve happened if she had a place to help her readjust and get back her feet.

  3. Posted May 14, 2008 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    i wish there was more programs like these. a close friend who was charged with a felony at just 19 struggled to get a job with that record and as she moved back in with her parents she fell back into the same bad habits. I wonder what wouldve happened if she had a place to help her readjust and get back her feet.

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