16 July 07

Midnight Needs a Home

“How short are you?” I asked Midnight.
“Jan 19 2008 is my TR [a 90-day-early temporary release]. April 5 is my ERC [early release credit date, usually calculated at 85 percent of the prisoner’s sentence]. But to get my TR, I’ve gotta have a residence approved and I don’t have one. I have no family or friends on the streets.”
“Can you go to a shelter for the homeless?”
“You can’t go to a homeless persons’ shelter on a TR. I’d hafta wait till April for my ERC.”
“Hopefully this time when you get out, the cops won’t steal your fifty-dollar gate money.”
“What’s fifty bucks gonna get me? You can’t make it on fifty dollars. I hafta buy socks and underwear as soon as I get out. Then I’ll hafta go to McDonalds or Burger King. And then I’ll be broke.”
“And then what?”
“I dunno. My social security disability will start, but it’ll be a month or two before I can receive a check, and I can’t get a check unless I have an address, and I can’t afford to pay rent until I get a check.”
“Catch-22.”
“Yeah. I can get a P.O. Box with my check, but that’ll cost almost half of my fifty-dollar gate fee.”
“What if someone had a place for you to stay at on the basis you would pay them rent when your checks come in?”
“That would work for my TR, but I won’t get a check till March.”
“Where would the residence need to be?”
“I’d like to try and stay here in Tucson if possible. I’d like to give it a fresh start. But I can go anywhere that’ll have me within the State of Arizona as long as the person whose house it is isn’t a felon. They would hafta agree that there would be no alcohols, drugs, or firearms in the residence.”
“So if someone reading this offers you a place in Arizona - ”
“I’d get out in January instead of April. They’d hafta send a letter sayin’ I could stay there, and I’d give it to CO3 Rose, and he’d give it to the parole people, and they would verify it with the person. Then they’d go to the residence, make sure there’s a room I could sleep in, and that they agree to the conditions of parole.”
“So any person in Arizona could do this?”
“Yes.”
“How much rent could you afford?”
“I’ll pay five or six hundred monthly out of my disability check. I’ll be gettin’ nine-hundred-and-seventeen dollars a month. But I’ll need some for clothes, food, and eventually a car 'cause I wanna be able to return to work. That’s my goal. If I have a phone number to be contacted at, I’ll be able to find a job. If I leave in April, I’ll be homeless. The parole officer will give me a listing of shelters, but it won’t be easy gettin’ my life together from a homeless shelter.”

Is anyone in Arizona willing to house Midnight?”

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

1 comment:

joannie said...

Another suggestion-is there a prison chaplain who might connect this man with a church or a mentor? We have such a program on a voluntary basis at the county level, partnering men and women inside with those on the outside to assist them. It works really, really well. At least the more information and people involved, the more possibilities.