Forget the Bootstraps, Part III: Invisible Punishment

A painting crew, part of the Safer Return initiative, painting viaducts along train lines in ChicagoBy Margo Pierce

Photography Provided by Safer Foundation

Prison isn’t just a punishment —it’s a place apart with its own culture and rules. The experience of prison changes not only the inmate, but the families, friends and the community from which the convicted individuals come. More than 80 percent of inmates leave prison, and yet almost no preparation is done by anyone in any of these groups to support successful reentry.

The Safer Foundation in Chicago, Illinois, helps inmates navigate the barriers to re-entry, according to B. Diane Williams, executive director.

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