Video Duration 06 minutes 27 seconds
From: Al Jazeera Close Up

Otis on re-entering society after 44 years in prison | Close Up

After 44 years behind bars, Otis comes out to try and rebuild his life in a world that seems to have changed completely.

When Otis Johnson was 25 years old, he was sentenced for the attempted murder of a police officer.

Forty-four years later, at the age of 69, he was finally released, having served an additional eight months for a juvenile shoplifting charge from when he was 17.

Leaving the prison, Johnson was given an ID, documentation of his criminal history, $40 and two bus tickets.

Johnson had lost contact with his family during his time in prison, so he relied on Fortune Society, a nonprofit that provides housing and services to ex-prisoners in Harlem.

He spends his days navigating the world as best he can, trying to acquaint himself with new concepts, including mobile phones and slick digital advertising.

One of his favourite things after getting out of prison is spending time outdoors, in the sun, something he did not have full access to before.

To help him through the more difficult moments, he turns to meditation in the evenings, seeking to accept his current life.

A film by: Elena Boffetta & Jenna Belhumeur

EP: Yasir Khan