She’s His Rock. His Parole Officer Won’t Let Him See Her.
Erroll Brantley, 44, in prison at Hartford Correctional Center. Brantley has struggled with heroin addiction since his aunt, cousin and her boyfriend were murdered in 1987. (Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times)
As prison populations drop, the number of parolees is increasing — people with layer upon layer of disadvantages that often date back to early childhood. For more than a year, FRONTLINE and The New York Times followed newly released prisoners as they tried to find homes and jobs, reconnect with loved ones and avoid temptation, sometimes discovering that the system created to help them can also hold them back.
One of them could not buy his daughter a Christmas present even though he was working because the halfway house where he lived controlled his spending; another, renting her own apartment, was told her boyfriend could not spend the night.
For their part, parole officers were making difficult calls about the best interests of their charges, while navigating safety rules such as the one that affected Erroll Brantley Jr.: no contact between parolees and their past victims. For Brantley, that meant not seeing the love of his life.