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Video Readies Inmates for Return to Society

By Enid Vázquez

May/June 2012

Video Readies Inmates for Return to Society

The video "Outside the Walls: Life Beyond HIV," from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), will be shown inside Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) facilities starting this year. The four-minute video features two former inmates who are living with HIV along with AFC Director of Correctional Health and Community Affairs Rev. Doris J. Green.

Angela McLaurin describes that moment in 1995 when she tested positive for HIV while in prison as "the wake-up call." Upon her release, Angela used an HIV services directory to link herself to resources, but she knows that a booklet of information is no substitute for individual assistance. That's why she and Tawon Dale, both members of the AFC Community Advisory Board, agreed to appear in the educational video, to encourage inmates to know their HIV status and connect to HIV/AIDS services upon release.

"I'm a testament to the fact that there is life beyond HIV," says Angela, a motivational speaker and educator. "Early detection is key because what I'm seeing is that people don't get tested until it's way too late. And it's sad because the help is out here."

Rev. Green talks about the services available, including housing, and says, "When you return to the community, know people care." Rev. Green has worked for years to bring HIV education into prisons and jails and it was through her work as liaison between AFC and IDOC that production of the video was possible.

The video is available as a free download at http://bit.ly/outsidethewalls and is also being distributed in Chicago neighborhoods as a DVD through Men & Women in Prison Ministries, a non-profit organization that provides support to incarcerated populations, their families, and the community at large. It can also be viewed at www.aidschicago.org/corrections.


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