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After time in jail, this woman explains her joy for Thanksgiving

April Douglas.jpg
Posted at 4:44 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 21:28:52-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After 38 months behind bars, April Douglas is back to living her life and attending her first Thanksgiving with family in nearly four years.

"God has brought me so far from where I was till now," Douglas said. "I was a mess, you know, and now I feel like I'm getting my life together."

Douglas spent three years in jail with the Tennessee Department of Corrections for a drug conviction. Before going to jail, she did not feel welcome at the Thanksgiving table.

"When I got into my addiction, any into my lifestyle — it become not a hassle — but I didn't really attend as much because I felt pressured,"Douglas said. "Does that make sense? I felt pressured. You know, my mom is gonna, you know, look at me. She don't really want me at her house because she's worried I might do something or something like that, you know? I mean, it's hard that I kind of skipped a few."

Fast forward nearly four years, authorities released her Oct. 6 and began her eight-year parole.

Upon release, the Women of Worth accepted Douglas in their program in Nashville.

"Women of Worth is a transitional recovery home dedicated to helping women heal from addiction, trauma and even the effects of incarceration," executive director Kristy Pomeroy said. "It is our goal to support the residents so they can return to society, to their friends and most importantly to their family in a much healthier place."

Recovery underway and reconnected with her family, Douglas said this Thanksgiving means more than she could express.

“Even if it weren’t Thanksgiving, (it's) just getting to be with my family — because you just need to be with your family — and tell them how much you love them and appreciate them. Because you don't know when something's going to happen,” Douglas said. “I didn't think I was gonna go to prison. You know, I'm saying I was living wrong, but who would have thought I was gonna go to prison for almost four years of my life?”

Douglas is not the only Tennessean who may have extra appreciation for Thanksgiving this year.

Between November 2020 and November 2021, more than 3,000 felons have been released from the Tennessee Department of Corrections. That number does not include those released from county jails across the state.