Woman shocked when charity for ex-prisoners gives her a car
BATON ROUGE - A Baton Rouge woman was surprised with a much-needed gift from a charity called Freedom Rides.
According to The Advocate, Alisha Disotell headed into Baton Rouge's Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections building on Thursday with the expectation that she would speak to a crowd about her experience of adapting to life outside of prison after serving two decades behind bars.
Using her experiences to help others was nothing new to Disotell.
During her incarceration, Disotell worked hard to turn her life around by making use of every program offered and serving as a mentor to others.
Determined to succeed, she even earned her undergraduate degree in communications and business while she was behind bars.
The Advocate adds that she also helped out with the prison's reentry programs.
But on Thursday, Disotell was the one who became the recipient of a vital means of assistance.
Freedom Rides vehicle charity for the formerly incarcerated gifted Disotell with a car.
On Thursday, when Disotell realized she wasn't at the Department of Public Safety and Corrections to give a speech, but to be surprised with a car, she was shocked and so pleased that she began to cry.
Still in shock by the gift, Disotell said, "I’m in awe right now. I’m like, is this really happening to me?”
Freedom Rides, the organization that provided Disotell with the used Nissan Altima, was founded last summer by a former inmate named Ben Castro. His organization aims to help people on parole get from point A to B as a way of alleviating some of the hardships they face while re-entering society after spending years in prison.
Disotell's 20 years behind bars stems from a 2002 incident involving the death of a 46-year-old man named Drexelle McBride. Disotell, 18 at the time, told authorities McBride was trying to rape her and she killed him in self-defense.
In 2004, she pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to decades in prison.
Disotell was freed in June of this year after Gov. John Bel Edwards commuted her 30-year sentence.
Disotell became Freedom Rides' first recipient of the vehicle program Thursday, and as Castro watched her thankfully accept the keys to her very first car, he was further motivated to do the same for others in similar situations.
Castro said of Disotell, “She was arrested as a teenager. It took 20 years for her to get her pardon, and she came out and hit the ground running. She achieved everything she could while incarcerated.”
According to The Advocate, Disotell’s Nissan Altima was purchased with money raised by Freedom Riders and Securus Technologies, a prison communications firm.
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