“I Wasn’t Going to Let Prison Dehumanize or Demoralize Me”

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Al Sasser used his time in prison to think about the contributions he was going to make in the future.

Returning to society after 31 years, Al Sasser knew he’d face challenges. But he had determined to better himself while on the inside so that when he got out, he wouldn’t be defined by the person he was but instead by the person he’ll become.

Al was incarcerated as a teenager and over the next three decades he had to reconcile his past with what he wanted to do in the future.

“I had never been to prison and my thoughts were that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life there,” Al said. “I felt that if my survival was based upon doing more time, then so be it. … I figured the way to free myself was to get to really know my authentic self and to really develop that person.”

Not knowing when or if he would return to society, Al had to develop an inner strength.

“I wasn’t going to let prison dehumanize or demoralize me,” he said.

You can watch Al’s story here. You can also visit Root & Rebound’s website to watch the rest of our Stories of Reentry series and learn how you can help us better meet the needs of those returning to society.

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Restoring power & resources to the communities most harmed by mass incarceration through legal advocacy, public education, policy reform & litigation.

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