Mayor Marty Walsh is building upon Boston's commitment to increasing opportunities for all residents, including those who have served time in prison, by launching the city's first-ever Office of Returning Citizens.
The Office of Returning Citizens will support the nearly 3,000 individuals who return to Boston each year after being released from state, federal and county correctional facilities, and will be part of the Office of Public Safety, which was created in 2014. Earlier this month, Walsh appointed Kevin Sibley as director of the office.
Darius Hines of Boston is a returning citizen who spent 16 years in prison for drug and other charges.
"I came home to nothing, I came into the halfway house," Hines recalled. "When I met the mayor's office, I had $17 in my pocket."
Several years later, he has a new life. He's married, his wife is expecting twins, and he has a job in construction. He pays taxes and contributes to society.
"I want my family, my wife, my mother, my kids to be proud of me," he said.
That's what city officials say life after prison should be like.
"This office will work with thousands of individuals returning to our communities ready to move forward," Walsh said.
The Office of Returning Citizens will help those out of prison find jobs, housing and positive pathways outside prison.
"I paid my debt to society, to my community, family and friends, and now I'm giving back to my community the best way I can," Hines said. "Everybody deserves a second chance, and this is my second chance and I'm trying to make the most of it."