By CSG Justice Center Staff
“When I got out, my kids were my number one priority.”
Darius Dennis (right) couldn’t have predicted how intertwined his path to reentry and the well-being of his young family would be when he left jail in 2017. Today, more than a year after completing the Strengthening Fathers reentry program, Dennis not only hasn’t reoffended, but is working to be an active, engaged father.
“I had to feel ready,” Dennis said recently of his mindset as a father leaving incarceration.
Dennis was in custody a number of times between 2012 and 2016. In the summer of 2012, between semesters as a student at Virginia State University, his involvement in an altercation at a basketball game led to an assault charge and fines that Dennis said he couldn’t pay. He eventually dropped out of college and, while working part-time cleaning at a hospital, Dennis said he began selling drugs. After being arrested in 2014 with drugs and a handgun, Dennis was placed on probation and completed substance addiction treatment. But when his brother was shot and killed in 2015, Dennis said he began smoking marijuana again. He was remanded from probation to Norfolk City Jail for a year after a routine drug test turned up positive in 2016.