Reentry Success Stories

The Faces of Incarceration: One Client’s Story from The Boardroom to Prison

By December 15, 2017 No Comments

Dear Friends of Riverside House,

It is not too late to make a difference in 2017. Consider the story of one alumnus:

Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody. Sometimes the consequences are life- altering. I don’t know how I could have paid a higher price. I owned my own full-service mortgage banking firm for 34 years. It was an excellent firm and when people came to work with us, they never wanted to leave. I earned a very comfortable living and provided well for my family and many other people close to me.

However, I got involved in an activity that I did not know was illegal. I was caught, charged and sentenced.

There went all my years of hard work and the firm I had created. The company closed, all employees eventually had to leave, and I went away to a prison camp for 4 years. It was the darkest of times, much more difficult than I could ever describe – losing my closest friend and business partner to suicide, my company, my assets and being separated from my family.

While in prison, I made friends with some people I would not have access to in any other environment but a prison. I was one of the lucky ones and my experience wasn’t all bad.

But there was never a day when I didn’t wish it to be over so I could go home and get on with my life.

The next lucky break I got was being assigned to the Riverside House in Miami for my transition. What an excellent surprise it was to land at Riverside where the employees are well-trained, courteous and hard-working. The level of professionalism at Riverside is much higher than I expected. I also believe that most of the staff is there to do the good work they have been assigned to do, that is help their charges to transition into the work force and society.

They create a very safe living environment. 

They do what they can to help the guests find meaningful work, and most of all they make men and women who have spent time in prison and been conditioned to a hardened environment begin to feel good about themselves again. They provide the tools necessary for men and women who need a second chance to start over with dignity.

-Chris *

Riverside House Client

Chris’ story is one of the reasons why we do what we do at Riverside House. Our next goal is to follow him and all of our graduates for 3 years to ensure their success once they leave us. 1 out of every 4 ex-offenders returns to prison in Florida within 3 years of being released. Continuing to help our graduates be successful as productive citizens, contributing to a safe and vibrant Miami is central to our efforts. This new phase in our development, the Riverside House 5-Year Expansion Program, will enable us to extend our services to satellite locations throughout the county to support both our alumni and those released from prison directly to the street.

It is not too late to impact countless lives while obtaining a 2017 tax deduction. What a win-win-win! Helping guide ex-offenders to become productive citizens, acquiring a tax deduction and making Miami safer all through one effort. You can donate to Riverside House by going online or by mailing a donation to: Riverside House, PO Box 2325, Miami, FL 33101. Thanks to your generosity of spirit, Riverside House will be able to expand its services throughout Miami-Dade County. Please join our initiative as one of the 2,000 Souls Impacting 2,000 Lives!


Cleveland Bell III


*Name changed to protect the individual’s privacy.

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