Silicon Valley Parole Officer To Homeless Ex-Con: 'Go Live In The Creek'

This story is a part of Business Insider’s “
Homeless In Silicon Valley” series reported by Robert Johnson and edited by Chris C. Anderson. Jill Klausen and graphic designer Mike Nudelman contributed to this series.

Dee had been out of prison for just 17 days when we met him at the Coyote Creek camp site he shared with long-time Silicon Valley homeless resident, GiGi. With the previous 16 years of his life spent in a California prison, Dee faces the next three years on parole with more uncertainty than ever.

To meet the conditions of his release, Dee has to attend a series of weekly appointments including regular pursuit of employment. He was given $US200 “gate money” when he was released and spent most of that on a set of clothes and a bus ticket.

He has no money left and has to attend appointments with his parole officer to keep from getting “violated,” which would put him back behind bars for at least another 12 months. The next year he’d have to try all over again.

When Dee expressed his frustration at walking miles every day to find lunch, make appointments, and find work while still looking for a place to live, his parole officer said: “Go live in the creek. We got parolees there.”

Dee was in prison for 16 years and had been living here with GiGi less than two weeks when Business Insider met him in mid-July.

Dee faces three years of supervised parole where he must make a series of weekly appointments with no money, no place to live, no transportation, and no cell phone.

Dee receives food stamps, or a CalFresh benefit card, that allows him to purchase about $US200 in food a month. He’s applying for general assistance and looks forward to the ~$150 that will provide him each month.

Dee was temporarily living with GiGi, providing protection from GiGi’s last boyfriend. In exchange, Gigi was teaching Dee the ins and outs of living in a homeless tent city. She moved into an apartment in early August, leaving Dee to fend for himself.

Dee has family in Arkansas with whom he could stay, but California correctional officials refuse to initiate a transfer to a state without Dee first securing employment.

“I miss one appointment, I’m violated,” Dee says.

“I have contact with the police, I’m violated.”

Dee continues, “What happens when the police sweep through here and clear us out? I’ll tell you what, I’ll be right back in prison. Just a matter of time.”

Click here to read about “The Jungle” homeless camp in San Jose.

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