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Ending Mass Incarceration Won’t Succeed without Giving People a Second Chance

ABA Journal

By Kevin Davis

As he rode the bus home to Chicago from the Vienna Correctional Center in downstate Illinois, Steve Price told himself that he wasn’t going back. At age 32, he’d already been to prison six times. He’d had enough. This time was going to be different. This time, Price felt better prepared for re-entry. During his stints behind bars, he learned how to read. He earned a high school equivalency diploma. He trained to be a barber and passed the state licensing exam. His mom, Eula, met Price at the bus station downtown and drove him to their home on the South Side where she cooked dinner. “I told her, I don’t think I’m going back to jail again,” Price recalls. “And all she would say was that time will tell.” Her skepticism was well-placed. Price had a rap sheet that began at age 13, around the time he started running with a street gang. As an adult, his convictions were for nonviolent crimes—burglary, retail theft and drug possession. He was a heroin addict, and he stole to support his habit.

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