One Woman's Story about What Life is Like the First Year after Prison
Date:  06-09-2020

Freedom from prison can be exhilarating, but also downright scary
From Marie Claire:

In the morning Makeda Davis was coming home, her mom, Georgia Davis, cleaned her studio apartment, smoothing a tablecloth over a table and putting out bowls of Doritos and pistachios and a Welcome Home balloon. Makeda’s daughter, Merhanda Pierre, had bought a charm bracelet featuring a heart engraved with the word Free. Later, as the two women pull into the parking lot of Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, New York, they buzz with energy: After seven and a half years in prison, Makeda is getting out for good.

Behind barbed wire, the prison grounds (green grass, brick buildings) look dull and still on this rainy November day in 2018. Merhanda, 21, tumbles out of the car, batting at unruly gold K and E balloons (for her mom’s nickname, Ke). Georgia, age 59, clutches her purse, a bit more hesitant. That morning, Georgia looked around her small home, describing how “everything fell apart” after Makeda went to prison. Before, they lived in a much bigger place thanks to Makeda’s salary. “She was the heart of the family,” she said. “Now, it’s like she’s coming back to put the pieces back together.” She paused, then added softly, “Maybe not.”

Then, a door of the trailer where visitors are admitted—and where, every once in a while, inmates are discharged—opens. It’s Makeda: brown skin, black hair, wide brown eyes, a giant smile. As she walks down the trailer steps, wearing a rain poncho and holding a plastic bag—all she’s taking with her from this place—Merhanda and Georgia run toward her as though pulled by magnets. They move together, Georgia crying and saying, “My heart burst” as she hugs her daughter and pulls the hood of the poncho over her head. Merhanda wipes her mom’s nose. “Hug me, Mama,” she says, and the three women meld closer. Continue reading >>>