Letters: Ex-Cons' Struggles To Make It On The Outside

Audie Cornish and Robert Siegel read emails from listeners about a series that followed two aging ex-cons struggling with a second chance in the outside world — and whether they deserve it.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

I'm Audie Cornish and it's time now for your letters. Earlier this week, we ran a two-part series about what happens when older prison inmates return to the outside world. For two years, NPR's Laura Sullivan followed a couple of aging ex-cons as they made their way through life, not sure if they deserve a second chance.

SIEGEL: One of the men is Red Thorpe. In 1979, Thorpe was 22. He killed a teenager and served 25 years in prison. Today, he mentors a support group for people like him, ex-cons trying to make it on the outside.

RED THORPE: You know, there's times where it's overwhelming. You know? And you just don't want to go on no more.

CORNISH: Listener, Kevin Stathm of Sanger, California writes, great piece on people who want to make a change one person at a time, themselves.

SIEGEL: Jonathan Plummer of Eugene, Oregon called our series riveting, adding, more of this, please. But Ann Field of Santa Monica, California asked what the point of it was. She writes, am I supposed to feel sympathy for these aging prisoners who have the luxury of freedom, when they so easily took that same freedom from others?

CORNISH: Kirsten Pringle of Santa Clarita, California had these thoughts - the transition from incarceration to the outside world is an issue that I haven't heard much about, but immediately recognized the importance of addressing. The investigation managed to humanize the issue by showing the commendation of excitement and fear that these inmates face at the possibility of getting released. At the same time, as Pringle goes on to write, the inmates were in prison for a reason. They are violent criminals. I felt myself both sympathizing with the inmate, but still wondering if they deserve to go free.

SIEGEL: Well, thanks everyone who wrote in. And please keep sending those letters. Write to us. Go to our website npr.org and click on contact at the very bottom of the page.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.