After college, Tammy wanted to venture out on her own. She moved away from home and began a life for herself. Unfortunately, due to a family tragedy, she had to return home. While there, Tammy fell in love with a drug dealer, who in turn started her on the wrong path of selling drugs. Tammy began selling cocaine, and after eight years she started using it herself. Two years after that, Tammy went to prison for trafficking and distribution of cocaine, leaving her 2-month-old and twelve-year old sons behind. Tammy was sentenced to almost 20 years in prison. While in prison, Tammy completed several programs to get her life back on track. The first, in Tallahassee Florida, was a three-year spiritual program, directing her life. Afterward she was transferred to Camp Alderson in West Virginia, where she completed a drug program, allowing her to overcome the drug problem she had developed while on the streets.
Through the grace of God she was released after 8 years, and came back to the community in 2010. After being released, she entered the half-way house and completed a six month reentry program. Tammy knew that returning to the same environment as before prison would not help; Tammy did not want to go back. She did not want to surround herself with the same friends, but rather wanted a better life for herself. She changed her environment and did what she needed to do to stay on the right side of the law. It was a great feeling not to have to look over her shoulder any more and to know that she was truly free.
Upon leaving the half-way house, Tammy then lived in a transitional house operated by a non-profit organization, Changed Choices. Changed Choices had been in contact with her during her prison stay, and stuck by her until she reentered the community, and continues to serve as a support system even now, years after reentry.
Tammy did not go long without her life being tested. As a condition of her release, she was subject to random drug tests. She took the tests happily, knowing she had beaten her habit. Unfortunately, she had eaten some poppy seed scones brought by a guest, which caused a false positive for opiates. Tammy had proven herself to the community and her church so they supported her by writing letters on her behalf, but to no avail. Sadly, Tammy stayed in prison for the next seven months. At first it was very hard, because she knew she was innocent. This caused her to seek God in prayer and ask for direction. In January of 2011, Tammy was finally released.
Tammy has learned no matter the obstacles that stand in her path, one must never give up. She was determined to turn her life around, and with the help of Changed Choices she has succeeded.
She still has some challenges in her life since her transition into society; finding employment has been difficult for everyone including Tammy. However, Tammy did not let that stop her from accomplishing her goals in life. She has realized that if she makes the right decisions she doesn’t have to worry about anything.
While finding employment was a struggle at first, Tammy managed to secure a sales job and also worked as a catering manager at a local restaurant. When the restaurant closed, she decided to take matters into her own hands and opened up her own catering business! Tammy is married to someone who also has a record. They recently purchased a home together and enjoy spending time with their children.
Tammy’s story gives hope! Her faith in God, her persistence, determination and willingness to change are living proof that there is success after being incarcerated.