“Don’t expect too much or settle for too little...and remember: this too shall pass – this too I can survive."
Anne Marie’s story starts out like many. She graduated from high school, obtained an associate degree, married, and had two children. She worked a variety of jobs. She divorced and remarried. Raised to be family and budget oriented, she was an independent soul who did not ask for help – especially when she needed it most. The result was a choice that resulted in a 15-year sentence.
As Anne Marie entered her first housing assignment at DOC, she thought she would never have a real life again. She couldn’t forgive herself for her poor choices. Even so, having developed a strong work ethic early in life, she immediately started working in whatever work assignments were available. She spent time in the kitchen, in the eyeglass recycling program, and in the religious services programs offered by volunteers. Here, she developed her own personal mantra: this too shall pass – this too I can survive.
Six months later, she soon began to work in an OCE contact center and found her future career. Here was a place she could help others. She would work successfully in this assignment for the next 14 years.
Three months before her scheduled release, Anne Marie signed up for every release class DOC had to offer. Supportive of her efforts, OCE adjusted her work schedule to accommodate her class schedule. One of the classes talked about housing. While she had no plan, her faith helped her keep a positive attitude. Days later, she was informed that contacts through religious services were providing her temporary housing upon release until she could afford her own.
Without the struggle of finding housing, Anne Marie’s focus turned to employment. As many former AICs do, she began working for a temporary staffing agency where she performed a variety of jobs from injection molding to floral arranging.
Where is Anne Marie now? She says she is living in a dream. Just two years after release, she is married, buying a house (reducing her commute time by two-thirds), and working in trial service status in a full-time job with great benefits. She credits her success to her supportive family, religious services, and her assignment with OCE.
What is her advice to current AICs? Don’t give up! Start planning at least two years before release. Make an outline you can modify. Don’t expect too much or settle for too little. Find a support system outside of prison to help with housing, clothing, transportation, etc. and remember this too shall pass – this too I can survive.
Read more AIC success stories and learn about OCE training programs and projects by visiting our STORIES PAGE.