Woman's Calling Is to Help Ex-Inmates Get Lives Back on Track - NBC4 Washington

Woman's Calling Is to Help Ex-Inmates Get Lives Back on Track

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    For more than two decades, a local woman’s been helping former inmates — returning citizens as she calls them — integrate back into society.

    For Sheila Murphy, helping men and women fresh out of prison is more like a calling instead of a job.

    “The data was just really, really heavy, and my heart felt like somebody needs to be concerned about this," she said.

    Twenty-five years ago, she started going into prisons just to talk with inmates.

    "One of the sessions the guy said, ‘Miss Sheila, it’s like the word prison is written across my forehead, and when I went home, I couldn’t shake it,’" Murphy said.

    So she created Mission to Mobilization, which provides returning citizens resources to get their lives back on track.

    “So I just made up my mind that if I can work inside of a prison, $1.32 an hour, I can work out here in society,” Willie McBride said.

    Thanks to Mission to Mobilization, McBride is now a delivery driver, father and husband very present in the lives of his family.

    Going home to their families isn’t easy for every ex-offender. There is a lot of distrust and hurt because of the ex-offenders’ past mistakes.

    “We carry a lot of burden, financial burden, having to hold it down for the family, having to take care of all the bills," said McBride’s wife, Arielle.

    To help with that aspect, Mission to Mobilization offers free family life group sessions, in which the McBrides participate.

    “We start there and then we work down and we're not perfect, and it took a long time to get here, and there's always room for improvement," Arielle McBride said

    Since they've started working together, Murphy says she can already see that better life coming together for the McBrides.

    They are two of the hundreds of people Murphy and her organization have been able to help find jobs, housing and create a plan for life.

    "We need to be reminded that they are human, and once someone serves their time, it should be time served,” Murphy said. “Now let them go ahead and live their life."

    Reported by Leon Harris, produced by Michelle Rivera and edited by Scott Eisenhuth.