Now he has a good job, a car, the best girlfriend he's ever had. If not for the ankle bracelet, he's practically a regular citizen, a guy with something to look forward to--and something to lose. "I've got no reason to go back," he says, "and all kinds of reasons to make it."
Sylvester likes to tell the story of an ex-con named Edgar who used to weave back and forth between Samaritan House and the shelter across the street. A chronic, total loser, but one day he talked his way into a makeshift nursing program. He came out with a certificate of some kind--and a shred of his long-lost dignity. The next time Sylvester caught up with Edgar, he was working as a nurse, off the street for good.
Sylvester can't explain it. "I asked him what made him do it," he says. "All he said was, `Bob, I woke up one morning and decided I didn't want to live this way anymore.'"