Mental Health, Character and Responsibility: Building a Bridge to Reentry

Mental Health, Character and Responsibility: Building a Bridge to Reentry Main Photo

8 Nov 2023

News, Client Feature Article, Workforce

This article originally appeared on and was written for Ramsey County Community & Economic Development by Golden Shovel Agency.

This piece is the fourth in a series of Fair Opportunities articles intended to raise awareness of the employment needs of justice-impacted individuals in Ramsey County and the benefits to employers willing to give these returning citizens a chance at meaningful employment. Watch for upcoming content with detailed looks into active area providers and resources, as well as businesses and individuals who have directly benefited from their interactions. Justice-impacted individuals and local employers can contact Ramsey County Workforce Solutions for assistance.

A positive community environment is vital to justice-impacted individuals seeking reentry into society. While there is much a local employer can do to increase their awareness of the possibilities these persons provide, the justice-impacted individual also needs a lot of mental strength and courage to overcome any fear or doubt they have to make that transition.

Aldrick Woodruff is one example of an individual who has exhibited and cultivated the mental tenacity necessary to restore his place in the local community. This month, the U.S. Air Force veteran will complete a thirty-year sentence in the Minnesota correctional system for taking another person’s life. With no criminal record before that crime and as a former U.S. Air Force sergeant, Woodruff already had a good work ethic and level of discipline.

“Committing that crime shook me to my core because that was not what I was supposed to be,” he said. “Going forward, I made a point to change my environment instead of letting my environment change me.”

Bridge to hope

Woodruff spent the first twenty years of his sentence at Oak Park Heights, Minnesota’s only Level Five maximum security prison. He followed that with sixteen months at the Stillwater Correctional Facility, five years at the medium security facility at Moose Lake, eighteen months at the Lino Lakes Correctional Facility in minimum security and finally, the remainder at a Lutheran Social Service halfway house in Minneapolis.

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About the Author

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Chuck Friedbauer
Lead Copywriter
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Chuck Friedbauer is a Lead Copywriter for Golden Shovel Agency. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist and content writer. He also has a degree in Chemical Engineering and was an Engineer for 12 years. Chuck enjoys writing economic development promotional content and website redevelopment content for various clients around the country.