Former Baltimore resident, photographer, and social justice advocate Lindsay Waite has raised $1,026.52 for Volunteers of America, as well as three other organizations that provide resources for ex-offenders to transition back into society.
The 67-year-old cycled 1,300 miles– from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Baltimore—between April 2 and June 1, raising $4,106. Along the way, she received media attention in six states and raised awareness about struggles the formerly incarcerated face as they reintegrate into society. She chronicled her journey on her Facebook page and blog.
Waite has deep roots in Maryland. She worked as an assistant public defender in Baltimore and volunteer teacher at the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup. In her blog, she explained the road-blocks she encountered while helping her clients find jobs on the outside, and the scarcity of re-entry programs. Here is what Waite wrote in her June 19th blog entry:
“The struggle to get clients into programs showed me how most people who are locked up want to succeed upon release…It also showed me how few programs there are. And how, even with an attorney, it is difficult to persuade people that these programs have longterm value. This longterm value is not only for the incarcerated person, but for society as a whole.”
She says ex-offender recidivism drops from around 75% to around 25% through re-entry programs.