When you are released from prison, the last thing you want to do is spend the rest of your life reliving the mistakes that put you away in the first place. I should know: when I got out of prison in 2001, I wanted nothing more than to go back to school, earn my degree, and get a job that would turn my life around.
Demonizing incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals permitted us to leave them out of daily American life. Even worse -- we excluded them from conversations about their own fates and continued to punish them with collateral consequences, long after they had served their time. In America, every sentence is a life sentence.