/ˈTHərdē/: “People associating themselves with someone imbued with the energy represented by the number 30 find their energy and outlook on life uplifted, their inner creativeness awakened, and their future looking brighter.”
That’s what numerology says about the number thirty, and a brighter future is what Andre was looking for when he was released from prison. He served six long years for a crime he didn’t commit, and all he wanted to do was come home and move on.
As I read, I noticed something that kept bothering me. And although this had no true impact on the overall plot of the story, I was led to write about it.
“Natasha swallowed in one large gulp, ignoring the heavy weight of Andre’s prison sentence that Audriana exposed…”
This small quote holds a lot of weight. “Heavy weight”. That gives the connotation that Andre’s long prison sentence is a reflection of what he did and to some, who he is. That is clearly reflected in the way Andre is subtly — and at times not so subtly — treated by those around him. I think the best example of this was how he was treated by his parole officer.
When those who were imprisoned return from being incarcerated, they are faced with many barriers. Little access to education, ineligibility for public benefits, public housing, student loans, and vocation are some examples (civilrights.org, 2022). It’s not a secret; they’re aware of these barriers and because of them, they often times become stressed or overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness. Often, the result is recidivism. I mean, to be honest, it seems like a no-brainer. One leaves prison where they have a roof over their head and three meals a day, only to come home to nothing and no opportunities. I’d probably reconsider my release too.
In the US, “2 out of 3 people are rearrested and more than 50% of people released are incarcerated again” (healthypeople.gov, 2022). What that says to me is that instead of judging those who have been locked up, let’s give them another chance to be productive members in society by providing the support and resources they need to be productive. We can’t expect somebody to stay out of jail when they don’t have the basics — food, shelter, safety, and support.
As a social worker, my go-to is to fix. I wanted to know what we needed to do as a community to reduce the recidivism rates in the US. So when I looked it up, four things were identified — motivation, early assessment of needs, education, improvement in drug rehabilitation programs. Although we may not have much control over an assessment, one’s access to education, and/or drug rehabilitation programs, we most definitely can have a positive impact on one’s motivation. When you look up how to develop motivation, two things are mentioned: surround yourself with positive people and find a mentor. Y’all be those positive influences one can go to in those times of hopelessness. Mentor someone you feel could benefit from it. You don’t have to be like Danny, the parole officer, who had no hope for Andre, no positive word, and who judged him from the beginning. Just be kind so that somebody can “find their energy and outlook on life uplifted, their inner creativeness awakened, and their future looking brighter.” After all, according to numerology, that’s the Thirty way.