Maggie Luna speaks about barriers facing formerly incarcerated Texans
March 16, 2023
“In the closely-knit Venn diagram of Texas’ criminal justice advocacy groups, Maggie Luna is almost always at the intersection.
“While serving a sentence for drug charges at the Lucile Plane State Jail, Luna experienced Hurricane Harvey behind bars. For the first time, the big fans ventilating the already-stagnant dorms stopped. Toilets wouldn’t flush. Shower faucets stayed dry for a week. Phones were cut off and with the kitchen flooded, inmates weren’t fed meals for two days. …
“Her Harvey experience and months at The Women’s Home, which offers resources and affordable housing to women in Houston, after her release inspired her to begin advocating for formerly incarcerated people. While looking to enter the nonprofit sphere, she quickly found a job at a Marriott hotel, folding towels for $10 an hour. Finding safe housing was significantly more challenging.
“‘It was very hard for me to stay sober there,’ Luna said. ‘The places [where] we’re forced to live and reenter society are very dangerous for our mental health or well-being. They want us to come back into society and not do anything wrong, but live desperately.’”