I'm Alex Glass, founder and Executive Director of Phoenix Reentry Resources. The idea formed in my head about 2 years ago during my second sentence in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). At 45 years old, facing a second prison bid, I knew that it was time to do something different with my life.
I had a four-year-old daughter and I knew that the only way I could give any of this meaning, was to use the time in there to really make some fundamental changes in my life so that I could be a good Dad. So that's what I set out to do.
It's a lot of work, but the rewards are immeasurable. I now enjoy a great relationship with my, now ten year old daughter and I can humbly say that I'm happy with the person I've become.
I stumbled into RDAP by a strange path. My security level had dropped to low and I was designated for somewhere in Alabama, 800 miles from home. Typically in the BOP, once a designation is in, it's done. I knew that meant no visits from my daughter unless I could figure out a way to stay put. The only person on the compound with that much pull is the RDAP Coordinator. So, we had a chat and I stayed to participate in RDAP because he got the transfer canceled.
I knew I was on a mission to better myself so I embraced the program. Halfway through the program, the Drug Treatment Specialist (guard) assigned me to a room with a guy they wanted me to help. I was grumpy at first but made myself embrace it as well. And that's where it happened. I met my new bunkie and we became friends, even to this day, on the other side of the fence. He knew that he needed to live differently too, but honestly didn't know how. I knew how, but I just didn't want to.
Our friendship was good for both of us, but for me, it revealed the next part of my journey…service. Over 45 years, I had become what Id call a taker. I thought it only appropriate that I could hope to live to 90, providing service and assistance for the second half of my life. Being a giver.
I knew the guys in there were my peers too. I related to them on a fundamental level that came down to "I don't like authority or rules and I'm not afraid to break them." Most people may think about robbing banks, but we are of the variety that would actually do it. We're different that way and with that as a common denominator, we can build a connection.
Most of the folks inside are just those who have a hard time conforming and turned to crime as a survival mechanism. They're often visionaries, intelligent and charismatic but haven't quite gotten how to turn that into success. That's why we are working on programs for correspondence courses on business and community organizing. Most of these folks aren't going to fit well into a regular job. So we encourage business education, both for- and non-profit.
I felt this part of the story was important to give one a better understanding of how we operate. We care deeply and are dedicated to doing our very best to ensure that anyone who wants to change and is willing to work at it gets the support they need.
Oh yeah, I finally got to a low security spot and was walking the track one day. While I was walking a Phoenix swooped in, invaded my brain and stayed, and quickly became my de facto spirit animal.
And that's the history of Phoenix Reentry Resources. Thanks for hanging out.