Staying Off Probation, and Teaching Others How

Aug. 14, 2013 / By


Profile, Pendarvis Harshaw

In 2008, Reinaldi Gilder promised himself that he would never go back to jail. Since his release in December of that year, he’s not only managed to keep his word, he has also shown others that they can do the same.

“Being on probation [is] kind of like being Black in the 1800’s,” Gilder said as he stood in the main hallway on the second floor of the Alameda County Probation Department building in downtown Oakland.
As sunlight beamed through the window into the hallway, Gilder squinted and summed up the desperation felt by so many on probation: “There’s no way to come up out of that.”

Gilder had been on a dangerous path. He was arrested in 2007 for armed robbery and sentenced to one year at Alameda County’s Glenn E. Dyer Jail. Prior to being released, Gilder says he sat in that jail cell and made a decision that would alter his life’s path. “I decided to go to school, because I know people that go to school don’t go to jail that often, ” he said. After being released in the winter of 2008, Gilder was given five years of probation.

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