Joseph Rodríguez teaches at New York University and has published seven books of photography, including Taxi: Journey through My Windows 1977–1987.— From August 2023
“I had to help my wife, who has a drug-addiction problem, and I did not want to see my kids wind up in the system.”
Jorge came to Walden House for parenting classes and to see his wife, Elizabeth, and their three kids. He had quit his job with an airline so he could remain close to his family.
“They didn’t expect me to live.”
Jason was a former Crip gang member who’d been blinded and disabled when the police shot forty-two bullets into his vehicle, wounding him and killing his girlfriend.
“My dad hustled women for money. I have followed my father’s example and hustled old men for money . . . until I got caught.”
Tracey is a Romani, or “Gypsy.” She’d had an arranged marriage at fifteen and had left school in tenth grade. She hoped to get into a sober-living program after she left Walden House.
Photographer Joseph Rodríguez grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and as a boy he watched the men in his family go in and out of prison. There were very few support programs for ex-felons at the time, and Rodríguez witnessed the difficulty his relatives had adjusting to life on the outside.July 2017
“I don’t want to be an old lady dying on the streets.”
Karen had been homeless for fourteen years and had been in and out of prison. She had no children or family and suffered from a mental illness.
“The gang life was all around me as a child. I come from a family of gangsters.”
Ryan had grown up in the San Fernando Valley with a high standard of living. He’d joined a gang by the time he was nine, so when he moved to South Central Los Angeles at nineteen, he “fit right in,” he said.
“This is the longest I have been out since I was eighteen.”
Joseph was a member of the La Puente gang. He’d been shot seven times in 2002 and later had become addicted to heroin in prison, where he said the drug was easy to get. At the time his picture was taken, he was thirty-one and in a methadone program.
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