'Given the chance': Former dying row inmate helps former prisoners transition again into neighborhood

READING, Pa. – A former dying row inmate says he needs you to take a look at him otherwise.

“Present me for instance of what you are able to do, given the chance,” mentioned Shawn Bridges.

Bridges spent greater than 20 years on dying row for a murder conviction within the late Nineteen Nineties. Retried in 2013 and resentenced in 2018, he is been free since 2019.

“I acquired a second likelihood,” Bridges mentioned. “A second alternative to reside life once more.”

Like many coming again into society, Bridges confronted challenges discovering a job.

“McDonald’s, or Burger King, any minimal work, you could have bother since you acquired a document,” he mentioned.

This story, although, is in regards to the job he did discover and the alternatives he needs to assist others in his scenario discover, too.

“I do know it from each side,” Bridges mentioned. “First, I do know the felony facet. I do know the jail facet of issues. You come residence and get a possibility. I work within the courthouse. I work within the court docket’s clerk’s workplace.”

After his job on the Montgomery County Courthouse, he heads to the Berks Group Motion Program to assist others return to society after their sentences.

By way of the Berks Group Motion Program and The Actual Deal 610, Shawn Bridges now helps to stop crime in Studying communities and works with people as they’re launched from jail.

“You want ID, as a result of the jail you was at did not allow you to get one,” Bridges mentioned. “Otherwise you want some kind of well being care. Otherwise you want clothes. The minimal stuff. That is our job.”

Why do you have to care about this downside?

“On daily basis any person is being launched,” Bridges mentioned.

He does not simply wish to speak to those that have served their sentences but in addition these whose sentences have not been set.

“I can inform a youngster, a baby, ‘That is what you bought wanting ahead to when you proceed down this path,'” he mentioned. “‘You actually wanna go to jail?'”

Bridges has been there. Now he is right here. To assist these like him and to hopefully discover younger individuals like him earlier than it is too late.

“A traditional individual do not actually take into consideration the implications of their actions till they’re really in it,” Bridges mentioned. “I am attempting to cease it earlier than we get that far.”

If you realize somebody quickly to be launched from jail, you’ll be able to attain out to the Berks Group Motion Program on its web site.


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