POISD bridging life in prison to life back home

(ABC 6 News) – It’s estimated that at least 17% of youth in Minnesota have an incarcerated or previously incarcerated parent.

One group in Med City is trying to help bridge a stronger path for those trying to transition from life behind bars to life in society.

Rochester non-profit group, Parents of Incarcerated Sons & Daughters (POISD), was founded in 2021. Offering a number of programs and deals to help people get back on track. 

Leslie Sutter thought of starting POISD when her son was incarcerated back in 2018. Though the COVID-19 pandemic slowed things down, she still used the time to network with other families and people looking to help their loved ones get back on their feet.

“I just realized that I wanted to just kind of be part of the solution,” Sutter said. “Originally we were going to start off as a support group and maybe meet up at a church somewhere to meet other parents.”

Fast forward five years, Sutter’s son Dylan is back home and POISD is an official non-profit offering numerous programs for those who have been incarcerated. Creating more opportunities for people like Dylan to move on from their past mistakes and pioneer a new future.

“You have to take it a day at a time and just find something that you can use as motivation each day,” Dylan said. “Keep a positive mindset and don’t go back to your old habits.”

Last year more than four thousand people were released from prison in Minnesota. 

One challenge, many people face after prison is finding a job that will hire them. Industries like health care, real estate, and insurance companies tend not to hire those who have been incarcerated. 

“Be resilient,” Leslie said. “Don’t be discouraged and don’t try to dwell on the past.

“Recognize the past and remember what you did wrong. But you have to move forward.”

You can learn about the programs and opportunities POISD provides HERE.