You've been in the can for 31 years. You're 60+ years old with no work history -- unless you count restaurant robbery as business experience -- and you've got nowhere to go, no money (since you didn't pay into Social Security) and no people skills. Sure, you know how to avoid a knife in the stomach, you've got that down; the secret prison handshakes, the mutual respect, the unspoken codes, yeah, no problem there.
Tracy Chabala Pulled Pork Sandwich at Redemption Foods
But then they let you out. Like that scene in The Shawshank Redemption when the old white guy steps out into the street and the cars are moving too fast for him and he just can't take the re-entry into normalcy without cracking -- he hangs himself. Confinement for decades is traumatizing enough for many prisoners, resulting in plenty of suicides while in the joint, but stepping back into society can be equally traumatic.
Redemption Foods, a restaurant serving casual bistro fare and parented by the nonprofit transitional-living New Horizon Re-entry Center in downtown Los Angeles, is committed to helping ex-lifers -- all convicted murderers who served at least three decades in prison -- re-enter society as easily as possible.