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Relevant issues for this story, separated by commas (eg. war, race, gender):
Poverty, Drug Abuse
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North America
Relevant key words for this story, separated by commas (eg. Africa, Hurricane Katrina, Mother Teresa):
Incarceration, Appalachia, West Virginia, Family, Children, USA
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Travis belongs to just one family among hundreds affected by a prescription drug epidemic strangling rural Appalachian areas similar to Jackson County.  After being in and out of incarceration for the majority of his adult life, at the start of 2011, Travis is now serving out the final six months of his parole before becoming a free man.
Brad Vest

2011 — student award of excellence

Travis transitioned from prison to home confinement in a camper alongside the Ohio River in Jackson County, WV in 2009. He wore an ankle bracelet that monitored his location keeping him within a hundred feet of his home. Travis dealt with these restrictions while raising his two young daughters, Patience and Journey, and trying to keep old temptations at bay.

Travis belongs to just one family among hundreds affected by a prescription drug epidemic strangling rural Appalachian areas similar to Jackson County. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the span of five years, from 1999 to 2004, West Virginia had a 550% increase of fatal drug overdoses, the largest in the nation.

After being in and out of incarceration for the majority of his adult life, at the start of 2011 Travis is now serving out the final six months of his parole before becoming a free man. Travis married his girlfriend, Tiffany, as soon as he got out and moved his family to a new home in Kenna, WV.  “Right now, at this time and this place in my life is a time to straighten up, get my act together and be the father that I need to be. And that is one that is sober,” Travis said the night before he was sentenced to prison.

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Travis and Journey stand at the banks of the Ohio River right behind their camper. Brad Vest/Alexia Foundation
Travis Simmons watches over his two young daughters, Patience and Journey, as they play outside of his one room camper. "I sat in that room for 28 days," Travis said about the county jail cell he stayed in after breaking probation for the first time after his original three-months. "I felt, goddamn, this [camper's] a mansion." Brad Vest/Alexia Foundation
Travis adjusts his home confinement ankle bracelet as his daughter Patience, 3-years-old when Travis started his home confinement, left, sleeps, and Journey, 3-months-old, nurses her last bottle of formula before bed. Since being placed under home confinement by the West Virginia Division of Corrections, Travis Simmons has struggled with his capacity to only provide his family with uncertainty. Their life along the Ohio River has been tested by the friends and prescription drug abuse of his past, the influences that initially put Travis behind bars. Brad Vest/Alexia Foundation
Short, an old friend of Travis, snorts a line of Suboxone as Travis attempts to block Patience's view of the drug. Suboxone is a prescription drug used to help treat opiate addiction; however, it is also abused to get high. Travis has struggled to break off friendships with old friends. Most of them are recovering addicts or still using. "The less I'm around them the less temptation," he said. Brad Vest/Alexia Foundation
Shelia Simmons confronts her son, Travis, after he was released on bond. Travis’ grandfather put his home’s mortgage up for the bail money required to prevent Travis from returning to jail. “This is the last fucking time,” Shelia said. “I’m not coming back here if you get in trouble, no more.” Brad Vest/Alexia Foundation
Travis is taken to a holding cell in the Jackson County courthouse after the Judge denied his request to continue serving his sentence on home confinement. Judge Reynolds ruled for Travis to serve the remainder of his sentence in the West Virginia prison system. “Hell, up until I got hooked on pills. Life was pretty good.” Travis's original sentencing was until June of 2012. Brad Vest/Alexia Foundation
Travis and Tiffany kiss embrace in her Ford pickup truck outside of the McDonalds in Ripley, West Virginia, for the first time after Travis was released from a five-month stay in the Huttonsville State Correctional Facility. Travis was released onto a one-year probation. Brad Vest/Alexia Foundation
Just weeks after being released from prison onto parole Travis married  Tiffany in a private ceremony. Brad Vest/Alexia Foundation
"Right now at this time and this place in my life is the time to straighten up, get my act together and be the father that I need to be. And that is one that is sober. I've got too much to live for. I ain't got much, god knows that but what I do have, it's my life," Travis said. Brad Vest/Alexia Foundation
The newlyweds stay up watching television after putting their children to bed in their new home. Brad Vest/Alexia Foundation