ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A local woman who worked as a lawyer for decades and then a public defender took the journey of a lifetime this year after seeing a group of people in need.
She set out from Albuquerque to Baltimore to raise money, but also awareness for programs to help former prisoners get back into society.
“I was afraid when I went in, a lot of doors lock behind you,” Lindsay Waite said, talking about her first time inside a prison.
“I was almost immediately struck by the gratefulness, the quest for knowledge, the commonality that we have as people,” she said.
After donating law books to the prison library, she ended up teaching a writing class there, she became a public defender and learned just how often her students, prisoners, ended up back in jail after their release.
“And it just stayed with me…I became very aware of how hard it is when you leave prisons to succeed,” Waite said.
So, she set out on the longest bike ride she had ever done.
“New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C. and Baltimore,” Waite said thinking back on her journey.
Along the way, meeting people, raising money and learning about programs across the country to help newly released inmates find a normal life.
“By and large it was reinforced to me that people are generally caring and good,” she said, “I was amazed by all the programs I learned about.”
It was not an easy journey. Dangerous roads and strong weather knocked Lindsay’s spirits a couple times.
“I thought, you know, if I hadn’t told too many people I was doing this, I would turn around today, but I told too many people I’m doing it,” Waite said.
But, her will was strong. “A few times I thought of quitting even after I hurt myself, I just couldn’t.”
In the end, Lindsay raised around $4,100. She split the money evenly among four organizations.
“It wasn’t really about the money as much as the awareness,” she said.
She says rehabbing people and helping them stay out of jail can do more good for everyone.