Lance Hamlett recently became a member of Richmond’s Reentry Success Center, one of the two publishers of this publication. Dameion King, the center’s reentry coach, spoke with Mr. Hamlett about change and sought his advice for others planning their journey home.
If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
I’m changeable. And I’m a positive person.
What’s been most helpful to you after reentry?
What’s been most helpful…I’ve been around positive people, and they’ve told me nothing but good things. They’ve told me they’ll help, and there are things that will happen.
Reentry takes time. Without patience, you won’t go anywhere. If you don’t change, then you’ll get the same results—lock and key. But if you change, then you’ll have a fifty-fifty chance of moving forward in your life.
What would you say to a loved one who is about to reenter society?
I would let them see the progress I’ve made. I would tell them it’s positive. I’m making it, and I just left where they just came from.
What were your fears about reentry?
My thoughts—that I needed to work. My biggest fear was not having a job. Now that I’m in a position, through Reentry’s help, I’m able to move forward and take this step in my life. I can keep myself from being incarcerated. I have responsibilities to pay rent, bills, and everything else.
How important is it to trust yourself?
It’s important. As long as my thoughts are positive, I stay as my own role model. I’m an example that successful reentry can be done—when you’re willing to do the right thing. You can’t straddle the fence. You have to decide before you leave the institution what you’re going to do. Because the real test is when you come home—the reality of what you’ll face.
It’s easy to go backwards. If you go backwards, what will happen? Eventually, you’ll go to jail. If you work for success, and take your time, and have patience, and have family and friends that love you, you’ll get more support and more help—if you show them that you really want is what you talked about while you were under lock and key. Now is the time to execute it.