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Searching for Justice: Life after Lockup

PBS NewsHour’s next hour-long special Searching for Justice: Life after Lockup focuses on the many challenges individuals face after incarceration — from reconnecting with family, to finding work and housing, to staying out of prison or jail.

The special follows four formerly incarcerated individuals and highlights their struggles and successes as they return to society.

Michael Plummer, of Washington, D.C., was locked up at age 17 for murder. Through a Washington program for juveniles sentenced to life, he was given a second chance and released after 23 years. Plummer has now found a path through peer mentoring and has dedicated himself to being an example to others.

Early in 2020, Rachel Schuyler was arrested for two counts of forgery — crimes she’d committed years earlier. She pleaded guilty, was released, and she says for the first time, was ready to get her life on track. But everyday has been a struggle.

Michael Cevallos has been in and out of prison for 28 years for burglary, narcotics charges and parole violations. After his release in 2020, Cevallos decided he wasn’t ready for reentry, so he built a cell in his sister’s garage. From there he’s hosted a nightly Facebook live event called “Cell Life” to try to create a support group and keep himself accountable.

After years of addiction and incarceration, Renee Wyatt was able to turn her life around in the 1990s. Now, as a social worker, she helps other formerly incarcerated women succeed on the outside.

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