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Halfway Home

Halfway Home

I took my place within a Los Angeles halfway house five days ago. While I can’t exactly call it home, it is the closest I’ve come in 2 years.

I’m not allowed access to a computer or the Internet (yet)… but I am allowed a real pillow, a little DVD player and some music. More importantly, I’m close enough to see my family now… and eventually I’ll be able to see my son. Life is good.

One of our requirements of residency is that all inmates must have or be actively looking for a job. And so a week after intake, having completed a remedial transition class taught from coloring book, we are granted 4-6 hour passes to venture forth, hopelessly underequipped, in search of the holy grail of life as a convicted felon: Employment.

What I’ve seen of the cavalry forging ahead of me makes my heart hurt. They don’t stand a chance.

They embark on their crusades with their shirts pressed crisp and their heads held high only to return with their spirits completely beat to shit. It is more than the brutal rejection of an anemic job market felt by those that have never broken a law. For those whose applications are automatically trashed for truthfully answering one question – “have you ever been convicted of a felony” – Their dejection is deeper.

They have been isolated for five, or ten, or twenty years and then told to compete in a world that has grown faster in that time than at any previous point in human history. Yesterday, I heard a fella explain a failed interview to his case manager by confessing that he didn’t know the difference between a smartphone and a cell phone.

Getting a job is about more than earning an income or satisfying a requirement to go home for them. It’s about persisting in a world that couldn’t care less.

Be good to each other,

- Me

Aside from being my mental lifeline to the outside, this blog is an effort to help provide my beautiful son, Orion, with a little support while I am away. Any profit generated by the Ads on this blog get split between him and a charity that builds wheelchair accessible playgrounds for disabled children.

Aside from that, my spirit pretty much survives on sincere correspondence from the outside world. Letters sent by anyone are more valuable to me than clean socks. Write me, and I'll write you back.

Dante Orpilla #49007-112

feel free to use my art, but please
consider a small donation
towards my situation.


On June 16th, 2010, I was sentenced to serve 28 months in a Federal Penitentiary, for possessing with intent to distribute a Class A narcotic. This blog is a visual representation of that experience. Please enjoy responsibly.


For the better part of my life I have operated under the beautiful assumption that mans greatest gift is his ability to create. And so I do. My name is Dante. I am an artist, a musician, a writer and, above all, a very proud father.

Please note that messages are sent in writing to Blackmarket Arts and due to his situation he will not be able to respond. If you would like to begin a correspondence, please write to him.

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