How Do Folks Launched From Jail Discover Housing?

How Do People Released From Prison Find Housing?

In 2011, he pleaded guilty to robbery and received 10 years. In 2014, in Attica, he got two and a half more years added after a jury in rural Wyoming county found him guilty of promoting prison contraband (He was found with a sharpened toothbrush that he says was planted).

Mr. Turner will be released in February 2024 and he plans to live with his wife, who rents a two-bedroom apartment for $2,100 in East Flatbush. If the rap game doesn’t work out, his backup plan is to be a personal trainer. What if the relationship doesn’t work out, I asked? I pointed to the TV, which was playing “Love After Lockup,” a ratchet reality show that reminds us that romance is difficult after you are released.

“I mean, I always got a plan B,” Mr. Turner told me. “My Mom recently passed away and she left me a one-bedroom co-op. A family friend sublets it.”

Sometimes those sublet situations can get complicated, I told him.

When I was maybe 11 or 12, living with my mom and stepfather in Hell’s Kitchen, mom would put her name on lists for rent stabilized apartments. She’d fix them up and illegally sublet them. Onetime, she left a spare key with the super, who she believed had entered her tenant’s apartment and stolen money. When my family confronted the super, chaos erupted. Mom, my sister, my stepfather, and the tenant were all arrested. Outside the building, my brother-in-law had managed to pull me into the crowd. The super’s daughter cried for her father and pointed at my mother, cuffed behind her back. “You don’t cry for your mother?” Mom yelled to me.

Mom eventually went legit, got her agent’s license, became a broker, then opened up her own shop with the eponymous name “Laura O’Connell Real Estate.” I became a drug dealer. In 2001, I shot and killed a man in Brooklyn. At 24, I wound up with 25 years to life, plus three more for selling drugs. I made Mom cry. I broke another mother’s heart, too. The young man I killed grew up in the same Brooklyn projects I did. Over the years, I felt a lot of shame for what I did, remorse for the people I hurt. It makes me want to get out and do things the right way this time.


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