Tynessia and Debbie

A Life Changing Friendship

November 15, 2018

For Tynessia, Debbie’s visit with her in prison began a powerful, lifelong friendship

“Before I went to prison I had a blanket view of folks who were incarcerated. If they’re there, they must deserve it,” Tynessia remembers. “Obviously, I learned to change my perspective.” Serving 36-months for aiding identity theft, Tynessia felt deep regret, embarrassment, pain and loneliness — until she decided to give Amicus One to One a try, simply to have someone outside the walls to talk to.

When Debbie entered the prison as an Amicus volunteer she wondered what she was getting into. “Going to prison was a whole new experience for me. It’s not a warm, welcoming environment,” she recalled. Then the conversations began with Tynessia.

“We would share our lives,” Tynessia recalled of their bi-weekly visits or letters. “We shared our hearts. It was easy. Natural.” When it came time for Tynessia’s release, Debbie was able to get Tynessia an interview at her worksite and now they’re coworkers.

Theirs is a forever friendship. “We feel like family,” Debbie said. “I’ve gotten so much love. It was wonderful. I will always be grateful,” Tynessia reflected.

Amicus One to One has 324 matches. The felony recidivism rate for One to One mentees is 8.6 percent – a 77 percent reduction compared to the average three-year recidivism rate of 36 percent.