Between 2000 and 2011, nearly 150,000 Chicago defendants received a prison sentence in the Cook County Circuit Court. The majority of them were from poor neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides.
Raymond Richard was one of those people. At one time, he lived on the streets of Chicago and turned to drugs and crime to survive. He was released from prison in 2008 and turned his life around. Now he is devoting his life to helping men and women like him put their lives back together after incarceration by assisting them in finding jobs and becoming productive members of society.
Richard refuses to call people who are released from prison “ex-offenders” because ex-offenders can’t find jobs. Instead, he likes to call them “returning citizens.”
—By Lucio Villa