Jean Valjean is a fictional character of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel Les Misérables. Hugo depicts the character’s 19-year-long struggle to lead a normal life after serving a prison sentence for stealing bread to feed his sister’s children during a time of economic depression and various attempts to escape from prison.
As a parolee, Valjean is issued a yellow passport for travel to a local town where he will be forced to live under severe restrictions. This yellow document identifies him to all as a former convict and immediately brands him as an outcast wherever he travels.
After betraying a Bishop’s trust by stealing valuable silverware, that same Bishop tells the police that he has given the treasure to Valjean. Out of this encounter, Valjean becomes a repentant, honorable, dignified man. He is kind to all he encounters, a devoted substitute father to a girl who loses her mother, Fantine, and a benefactor to those in need. Though a known criminal and a parolee, Valjean yet grows morally to represent the best traits of humanity. Valjean occupies a place on the wrong side of the law, but the right side of human virtues and ethics.
While reading Les Misérables in 2014, Valjean Society Founder and CEO, Michael Harris, a Criminal Paralegal by trade, recognized that, like Jean Valjean, countless non-dangerous men and women were being released into our community from the Arizona Department of Corrections on a daily basis without the resources necessary to succeed. Most of these offenders require healthy mentorship to learn how to function without dependence on drugs and alcohol while making progress towards true independence in employment and housing within our community. In the Spirit of its namesake, Valjean Society seeks to mentor those who have been issued a “yellow passport” to life and, in turn, enable those men and women to do the same for others.
If you are visiting this site, you or a loved one have found themselves incarcerated or on the wrong side of the law in one way or another. It is our sincere desire at Valjean Society to encourage you on the journey to long term recovery and show you the path that we have also traveled to find ourselves on the right side of humanity. Please become acquainted with our services by exploring our site and feel free to Contact Us at anytime!