In prison Angel thought that it wouldnâ€™t be too hard to find a job once he got out. He believed he had come a long way. At eighteen he hadnâ€™t been able to read or write. He wet his bed and suffered from uncontrollable outbursts of anger. At forty-seven he had studied at the college level. He told me he had read several thousand books. He earned numerous certificates while incarceratedâ€”aVocational Appliance Repair Certificate, a Certificate of Proficiency of Computer Operator, a Certificate in Library Training, an IPA (Inmate Program Assistant) II Training Certificate, and several welding certificationsâ€”but in the outside world these credentials counted for little.
“Irrelevant,” Angel said. â€œThey might as well be toilet paper.”