After being incarcerated for 24 years, Brian Barry was hired by RecycleForce and made the decision to turn his life around.
As a demanufacturing specialist, Mr. Barry takes apart electronics that are recycled to remove and recycle the different components. Along with acquiring certifications to do his job as a demanufacturing specialist, he has also been certified on the forklift which can open up future job opportunities outside of RecycleForce for him.
Mr. Barry’s life has changed in many ways since joining the team at RecycleForce. From getting his driver’s license to moving into the Isaiah House (a faith-based housing program), he’s a great example of how work is therapy. “It’s a great place here to work,” said Barry. “It’s a great opportunity for somebody, especially like me, who has been incarcerated for a very, very long time and is restarting my life over again. Especially in a new city.”
Things were intimidating for Mr. Barry when he was released from prison, but he worked through it and found his path. “At first, when I first got up here I thought, ‘I’m going to live in a city with a million people, what am I going to do?’ But I came here and these people have made me feel welcomed, at home and comfortable. And they’re actually guiding me and directing me in my life. I’ve been gone for almost 25 years and I got my first cell phone. My first cell phone came through payments that I’ve made here at RecycleForce.”
We say it time and time again: work is therapy. Work can be liberating and it can heal. Employment plays an important role in re-entry to society; linking individuals with criminal histories to jobs and helping them succeed can reduce the staggering costs to taxpayers for reincarceration, and also allows ex-offenders to contribute income to their families.
“This is a positive, productive place to come for everybody here,” said Barry. “Although they’ve been stigmatized with a bad past, that doesn’t mean that that past has to stick with them. And when people come here they actually want to work, they want to be a leading citizen in society, be a productive citizen in society and to rejoin society in a positive sense of mind. This is a great place to do it.”