Pamela Thomas is the Client Services Manager for the North Lawndale Employment Network’s ex-offender program, where she supervises case managers and develops community resources for clients. Along with surviving the streets as a child, she also battled a very severe drug addiction. She has spent much of her 36 years battling one storm after another, including numerous prison incarcerations. She knows how difficult it is to try and reintegrate into a society whose policies specifically tell you, you’re not a part of it. She has taken her life and used it as a basis to promote growth and stability in the lives of other women who’ve walked the path she has to design a gender-based curriculum for female ex-offenders which she feels could possibly change the face of structural programming for women coming from challenging backgrounds and lifestyles. Thomas has always had a passion for writing poetry and plays from as far back as she can remember, and she uses her writing as a tool to help those who are so easily forgotten about. Her idol is Nikki Giovanni.
Find Her, Feel Her, Free Her, is a gender-specific re-entry program created by Pamela Thomas based on her own experiences of the criminal justice system. This program is a set curriculum that assists the needs of those re-entering communities by providing them with the resources they need.
In this interview, Pamela Thomas discusses her life, beginning with her life on the street as a teenager and her abusive relationship with an older man. She discusses her children, her relationship to her parents, and her path into drug addiction. She also describes her path out of prison, including a later parole violation that arose after she called the police for her personal safety, and her current work in the social services.