Category Archives: 2nd Chance University

2CU: Treading the sensitive

In today’s political and over-ambushed scene, treading the sensitive has taken on new and unbalancing dimensions.

All deserve dignity
All deserve dignity

For the justice-involved, recognizing their mental, emotional, and psychological landscape can be a huge step away from recidivism and leaps closer to safer streets.

Dose of reality

2nd Chance University is about preparing those who have stumbled with the tools to succeed. With this in mind, the topic of sensitivity needs to be addressed. Partnering with triangulation, let’s take a look at treading the sensitive from three perspectives:

From the justice-involved:

  • Any miss-step could mean revocation and a return to prison
  • Being released does not equate to instant freedom, physically, emotionally, or psychologically
  • Typically an “out to get me” view where choices bombard, forcing vertigo with reckless abandon

From the employer:

  • How do I interview someone convicted of a crime
  • What will other employees think if I hire a convict, is it fair, is it safe
  • Is hiring a felon the right thing to do or should I just close my eyes from it all and pretend I am doing the right thing by discriminating against those who have stumbled

From the community:

  • Let those who have been incarcerated remain and rot
  • Don’t want anyone who has a record in my neighborhood
  • Those who have stumbled cannot be trusted, believed, or are capable of recovery

When it comes to treading the sensitive, those who have stumbled have lived the life and will continue to do so until their dying days. Granted, some are not deserving of second chances but all deserve to be treated humanely and with dignity.

In order to become a productive member of the community, those who have stumbled must understand not only the above perspectives, but must also develop tools to overcome those obstacles… this is the mission at 2nd Chance University.

2nd Chance University partners with organizations/institutions dedicated to those who have stumbled. Our material and workshops take advantage of real people, real life, and real issues.

I welcome your stories to be added into our series. If you chose to share or support, email me directly. For those wishing to introduce 2CU and our programs into an organization, institution, or facility, please step forward; together we can make a difference.

Danny Huffman
407-878-0474
http://www.2ndChanceUniversity.org
dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org

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2CU: Stick / Sleep and Escape

Freedom can never be taken
Freedom never can be taken

For convicts doing time, sleep and escape may be the only way to retain sanity. Stick drives this concept home for those who have never experienced incarceration.

2nd Chance University partners with organizations/institutions dedicated to those who have stumbled. Our material and empowering workshops are about real people, real life, and real issues.

Take note of what Stick has to say and respond to the insight questions honestly.

Stick

Edgar Allan Poe referred to sleep as small slices of death. Truth is, sleep is the only escape from these walls many of us will ever obtain. Sadly, the meager reprieve of sleep fades into the sickening awareness of where we are.

Insight

Other than their physical bodies being held in prison, where do you think an inmates mind is at and why?

The gray morning rises with icicles hanging from the bars of the penitentiary. Frigid cement floors bite our bare feet as we make our bunk and wash our face for another day. The harsh grating sounds of the steel doors sliding open signal most of us that it’s time for work.

We step out from what we call our house, but most people would call a cell, into a condemned miniature population. Some of us are inmates, some of us are convicts, but everyone here wears white as well as time.

Insight

As Stick mentions, everyone wears white as well as time, but some are inmates and some are convicts. If you were to go prison, do you picture yourself as an inmate or as a convict (why one and not the other)? 

I believe in hope, I believe in people, and I believe in second chances.

I welcome your stories to be added into our series. If you chose to share or support, email me directly. For those wishing to introduce 2CU and our programs into an organization, institution, or facility, please step forward; together we can make a difference.

Danny Huffman
407-878-0474
2nd Chance University
http://www.2ndChanceUniversity.org
dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org

Hire a Felon? Say it ain’t so

I hire those who have stumbled… but there are two fundamental conditions.

Are you scissors, rock, or paper?

Before pointing fingers and saying not fair one group has conditions while another does not, stop and think about it for a moment while we side-step at the positives and risks when hiring an ex-convict.

The justice-involved

  • Appreciate the opportunity and (more often than not) do not take the opportunity for granted
  • Develop loyalty quicker than those who have yet to be humbled
  • Have more to gain through employment; enhances self-esteem while keeping their PO off their back
  • Want freedom and know the consequences of slipping, on and off the job
  • Work harder and with enthusiasm (in general) than those who can find employment without the banning box

A few risks worthy of consideration

  • Monthly morning or afternoon probation officer meeting
  • Additional training may be required
  • Worrying about what others may think or say
  • Confronting personal fears and prejudices on a daily basis… If I need to explain, denial is real
  • Is it safe or will I get robbed, raped, or killed… (while on this bullet, statistically speaking the chances of you getting any of the three is more likely to happen by those who have no arrests or convictions… in other words, it may be safer to hire an ex-convict over a slacker without a stumble

So easy to point fingers… we’ve all pointed so don’t get atop that high horse. Come to think of it, we’ve all done (or said) things which the justice system could have altered life as we know it… all of us. For those who claim otherwise, stop lying to yourself as no one believes you anyway.

Back to my initial line regarding two fundamental conditions… candidates must:

  • Make the choice to believe in their knowledge, skills, and abilities
  • Not play games… if you have to ask, don’t

As a hiring executive and business owner, hiring an ex-felon has always been a matter of choice.

In many companies there resides inherent prejudices against those who have stumbled (recall the box). Still, within the machine the inherent prejudices reside within the hiring manager.

Truth is, few care; few are willing to offer hope a chance. Honestly, do you give hope a chance or do you fake it?

I believe in hope, I believe in people, and I believe in second chances.

2nd Chance University partners with organizations/institutions dedicated to those who have stumbled. Our material and empowering workshops are about real people, real life, and real issues.

I welcome your stories to be added into our series. If you chose to share or support, email me directly. For those wishing to introduce 2CU and our programs into an organization, institution, or facility, please step forward; together we can make a difference.

Danny Huffman
407-878-0474
2nd Chance University
dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org

2CU: The Real Thing

Throughout our programs Stick and Duck detail their experiences about doing time. Though there are entertaining movies and books about prison life, those don’t compare to the real thing.

The Real Thing

Bosses scream while walking the runs of our prison wing all day and most of the night. The nights are the worst. Some of their voices are all right but most of them grate on our nerve endings, like fingernails screeching against a blackboard. Other sounds pierce the fleet slices of nightly solitude.

The banging of locker doors, the abusive curses from one row to another, and the pitiful pleadings and crying of, “please no more, no more” make this world one nobody could understand without experiencing it.

We cover our ears, longing for the unnatural acts to be over quickly. A few of us begin to pray for the person being molested. We get very little sleep.

Stick

Insight

What do you think you know about doing time and prison life?

Doing Time:

Prison life:

2nd Chance University partners with organizations/institutions dedicated to those who have stumbled. Our material and workshops take advantage of real people, real life, and real issues.

For those wishing to partner with 2CU and our programs into an organization, institution, or facility, please step forward; together we can make a difference.

Danny Huffman
407-878-0474
http://www.2ndChanceUniversit.org
2nd Chance University, nonprofit 501(c)
dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org

The Human Element

2nd Chance University believes everyone can reach their mountaintop no matter the obstacles in the way. Our programs rely on trauma informed care, behavioral best-practice approaches, cultural and holistic theories, and the most important ingredient threading success: the human element.

All Deserve the Opportunity to Rise

Never forgot the look on my kid’s faces, a boy and a girl ages 10 and 8, when I saw them for prison visitation. When they saw me the first look on their small faces was pain and my daughter’s eyes filled with tears. It broke my heart to see their initial expressions and I too choked up. I vowed in my heart once out, I would do what it took to stay out and be a good father.
Stick

Insight

Why do you think the “human element” is missing from so many programs dealing with the justice-involved?


What do you think “human element” means?


2nd Chance University is a nonprofit partnering with organizations and institutions dedicated to empower those who have stumbled. Our material and workshops take advantage of real people, real life, and real issues.

Danny Huffman
407-878-0474
2nd Chance University
dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org

2CU: Mark and You

Fresh from prison release, Mark gives a unique perspective many will identify with.

Mark

Used to get around fine, hitting around the block and doing enough to get things done. Got into some trouble and needed cash in a hurry. The guy I was delivering to was not who he was supposed to be.

Same old story. Got busted and found a way out by going inside. Did some time in county and a year in state. Not much time but enough to know I got the rest of my life with this on my back.

After getting released, not many places gave me a chance. Got my GED inside, but that’s not enough.  Don’t know if I am going to make it but hoping this series can help get me on the track and out of prison. Truth is, without a job doesn’t look like a good start.

Oh yeah, name’s Mark and I got out 26 days ago.

Insight

In what ways can you identify with Mark?

I welcome your stories to be added into our series. If you chose to share or support, email me directly. For those wishing to introduce 2CU and our programs into an organization, institution, or facility, please step forward; together we can make a difference.

Danny Huffman
407-878-0474
2nd Chance University
dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org

2CU: Robert and Accepting Defeat

Continuing with our work and getting you a front seat as to our programs, time to introduce Robert. As always, share and respond to the insight.

Robert:

 Hey, I’m Robert. I work in construction, or at least I did until a few months ago. Boss fired me because the company wasn’t doing well. I know they are getting plenty of business so I’m pretty upset about not working; probably has to do with my arrest.  

True enough, I’m more of a construction laborer but I still have lots to offer. Now, I can’t seem to find a job no matter how hard I try. I’m 24 years old and all I’ve ever done is construction work. They don’t want to hire somebody my age or maybe they think I can’t handle the job. It may be time for me to move on from manual labor, but I don’t know how. 

All the jobs I apply for wash out, and I can’t live off unemployment forever. I need a job now, any job. Don’t want to be in the system (prison) but I am ready to give up.

Insight: Sounds like Robert has accepted defeat. What advice would you share with Robert if he was in the classroom right now? Have you ever accepted defeat?

My advice to Robert would be:

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                               

Here’s what happens when I accept defeat:

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                               

2nd Chance University partners with organizations/institutions dedicated to those who have stumbled. Our material and workshops take advantage of real people, real life, and real issues.

I welcome your stories to be added into our series. If you chose to share or support, email me directly. For those wishing to introduce 2CU and our programs into an organization, institution, or facility, please step forward; together we can make a difference.

Danny Huffman
407-878-0474
2nd Chance University
dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org