Prevent Incarceration instead of spending millions on putting people in prison lets concentrate spending on employment, education, addiction, housing and physical health.
Baltimore organization H.O.P.E. works
to reintegrate the formerly incarcerated
into the city and society
By Billy Jean Louis
Feb 01, 2022 at 5:00 am
Black people, who make up 31% of Maryland’s population, comprised more than 70% of the state’s prison population in 2019. Maryland’s population of Black prisoners is more than twice the national average of 32%.
In 2017, of the 18 people who enrolled in H.O.P.E., five received housing and 10 got hired, according to the organization’s website. None of them violated parole. In 2020, 12 people enrolled, eight received housing and 10 got hired, the website also said.
H.O.P.E. is among several organizations that will receive grant money from a $30 million campaign launched by Baltimore Corps, which matches volunteers to organizations that need them, to expand existing services and create jobs.
When Quarles, who now lives in Mount Vernon, got out of prison in 2014, part of getting paroled was showing the commissioners that he can become a better person, he said. His goal was to create opportunities for the youth, such as basketball leagues and back-to-school activities.
When his friend Dana Harris, 47, was released from jail in 2015 after serving time for a conspiracy for organized crime charge, Quarles told him there was a better way to live.
Harris, of West Baltimore, said H.O.P.E. helped get him hired in 2019 as a facilitator manager at TouchPoint Baltimore, which provides services around social justice education and workforce development as well as financial literacy.
“H.O.P.E. changed my life. I was a drug dealer. I was known for using guns and drugs,” he said. “I sit in multimillion-dollar meetings now. It’s crazy.”
Derris Moore, 40, who helped start H.O.P.E., echoed Harris.
Moore, who was sentenced to 25 years for armed robbery, was released from prison in 2015.
H.O.P.E. helped him stay grounded, said Moore, who got his commercial driver’s license with the help of the organization.
He said he didn’t think he’d make it to 40, let alone be married with a baby on the way.
“I’ve been blessed, and I’m very happy. I mean, coming from a life where I probably got locked up my first time when I was 11,” he said. “And every year from 11, and I believe I was 22 when I caught that time, I was in jail almost once or twice every year to now not at all in the past 6 years.”
The information in this blog comes from an article in the Baltimore Sun and is part of their Newsmaker series, which profiles notable people in the Baltimore region who are having an impact in our diverse communities.