Recently there was an article in Time magazine (Nov. 7, 2016 – New Chances at Life) about several prisoners among the hundreds who were pardoned by President Obama and how they are adjusting to their new-found freedom. I found that many of the problems they face are similar to the ones I experienced at my initial release from the hospital: getting a job, getting a place to live, starting a new social life, adjusting to all of the changes in society, and so on. One of the problems that they face is one that so many of them have which is substance abuse – something that I am fortunate enough to say that I do not have. What makes these problems especially difficult to address is that the system is stacked against them, for example, “the box” on application forms which asks if you have had any involvement with the law.
It was only in 2014 that Martin’s Place was established in New Jersey to address some of these transition-related issues. It was the first of its kind in the nation and opened with much fanfare. It helps them with their re-entry back into the community. Many times, in the world of the mentally ill, patients were simply released without any follow-up care. Disaster often ensued. Only now is this beginning to change ever so slowly.