My name is Lorna Hogan and I am the mother of four children. I began self-medicating with drugs at the age of fourteen because it was the only way I knew how to cope with my underlying trauma. In December, 2000, I was arrested on a drug related charge, my children were placed with Child Protective Services and I was sent to jail. In jail, I received no treatment and when I was released I went back to doing the only thing I knew, which was using drugs.
But thanks to a family-based drug treatment program, like those funded by the Second Chance Act-- a federal initiative that supports people reentering communities after incarceration in order to prevent crime, I overcame my addiction. I had a therapist and parenting classes that gave me insight into how to be a better mother. As part of my treatment process my children and I were reunited and my children received therapeutic services so that they too could heal.
I am ten years in recovery and my children and I have been together for nine years. They are succeeding in school and I am a PTA mom. I serve as Associate Director of Rebecca Project's Sacred Authority, where I train and inspire other mothers like me to be leaders in their own communities.
My family is a whole, strong and loving family today because I was given a second chance.
See October 14th New York Times Editorial on this! http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/opinion/second-chances-after-prison.html?_r=2&ref=opinion
Unfortunately, programs like the one that helped me are in jeopardy. In September, the Senate Appropriations Committee zeroed-out funds for the bipartisan Second Chance Act. In the same legislation, the Committee increased funding for federal prisons by more than $300 million over last year to expand prison capacity. The Bureau of Prisons hopes to open seven new prisons over the next four years. This policy will continue a cycle of increasing incarceration and racial disparity that is very difficult to undo. It is important that Congress knows that building more prisons does not solve our crime problems and that resources should be invested in keeping people out of prison instead.