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A Year in Prison Brings A Promise to Begin Life Anew

Paul Banks (right) spends a moment in prayer after his release. / Newsline photo by Adam Newman

While waiting outside the prison gate after his release, Paul Banks, right, sees Archie Hill, an ex-offender who runs a weekly ministry program. The two share a moment of prayer before Banks moves on to the rehabilitation center. (Photo by Adam Newman)

By Sarah Schaffer
Capital News Service
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

BALTIMORE - Paul Banks squinted in the beaming April sunlight and stopped to catch a glimpse of freedom.

Carrying two brown bags full of papers and Bible study materials, he stopped briefly to contemplate his independence as the wind whipped pear blossoms around him. He grinned nervously, then sauntered down the stone steps of the Metropolitan Transitional Center, walking with a release officer towards the prison's accounting office -- the last stop before freedom.

Other prisoners cat-called and yelled at Banks from the prison windows, their words echoing past the stony walls. After paperwork and a quick ID check, a clerk handed him $25, the balance of his prison bank account.

Banks, 21, was now a free man.

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Photographs and special report banner and design by Adam Newman / Maryland Newsline. Print stories edited by Steve Crane. Web package edited by Chris Harvey.


Copyright 2003 University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism

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In This Series:

With Little Preparation Inside Prison, Inmates Face a Shock on the Outside

For Repeat Offenders, Life on the Outside is Fraught with Uncertainty

For Prisoners, Preparing for Life Outside Can Mean Shedding Their Old Selves

A Year in Prison Brings a Promise to Begin Life Anew