Reentry Success Stories

After Overcoming Cancer This Ex-Offender is Eager for His Second Chance at Life

By July 28, 2016 April 19th, 2023 No Comments

Ending up in prison for most is a tragic or traumatic experience, but for our own *Johnathan Smith it was a lifesaver. Mr. Smith has been at Riverside House since March of this year as a BPO inmate. Upon first glance he can seem quite intimidating, having a tall and muscular build, but on the inside Johnathan is quite a sweet and respectful individual. He has not failed to impress upon us the way in which being incarcerated actually ended up saving his life.

Prior to incarceration, Mr. Smith had dealt with serious health issues that he kept to himself. He had been asked many times by his ex-wife to have a physical check-up due to blood in his urine. Mr. Smith was reluctant to go, however conceded to his ex-wife’s wishes and sought a physician. The results from the test were very serious, but instead of getting the help he needed, he chose to ignore them.

Continuing on with his daily life, Mr. Smith found himself under arrest and behind bars. It wasn’t until he was in this situation that he received the treatment he needed. Mr. Smith was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had it not been for the efforts of the prison, he would have continued to suffer without proper treatment.

Upon arrival at Riverside House, Mr. Smith is now cancer free and is extremely appreciative of the Riverside House staff and his case manager. He claims his case manager has done his best to encourage him to seek out job opportunities, practice his timeliness, and consistently reminds him to keep to his doctor’s appointments. Mr. Smith’s life skills classes have brought him peace of mind, equipping him with the ability to forgive loved ones and family members as well as focus and learn new things.

The facility has greatly impacted him, exceeding his expectations of what he could do for himself and what Riverside House could accomplish for him. He has new-found faith, better self-esteem, and a greater regard for the rules. Mr. Smith has admitted to previously being an avid drinker, committing himself to a bottle every morning, noon and night. After being a part of Riverside House he no longer drinks and has an overwhelming desire to become closer to his family.

Mr. Smith is projected to be released in January of 2017, and if he could voice any thoughts as to the benefits of Riverside House he would advocate for the life skills class. “It helps you learn and develop as an individual,” he said. In addition, he believes the overall environment allows you to transition at your own pace and is welcoming and uplifting in its own right. (

To support clients like Mr. Smith, please click here to find out how to become a volunteer or here to make a monetary or in-kind donation.

*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the client.

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