Over the next few moments, take a self-psychological moment and get into the conviction of jamais vu.
Seeing eyeless allows one to gain insight and empathy into a world most know nothing about or are too afraid to invest emotionally.
Crossing the bridge onto renewing adventures is challenging.
For those leaving prison and entering a new world the level of trauma is dominated
by an eerie sense of misplacement.
Try to imagine entering a new world after 13 years wrongly
incarcerated as Duck experienced.
One of our goals at 2nd
Chance University is to bring worlds together through life experiences from
Duck, Stick, and many others contributing to our curriculum.
Don’t just read the lines from Duck, for a moment, feel each word and emotion. Come to understand crossing the bridge is not a matter of walking through an opened steel door.
Nothing was more intense than approaching the door for the final time. I grabbed mismatched clothes, got a bus voucher, and held my head high. No greater feeling at the time. Looking back, I don’t see release as a success. Release meant I let people down. After all, if I had done right, I would have never been sent to prison in the first place. This failure will haunt me every moment of my life. Duck
After serving 13 years Duck entered a changed world. For a moment, place yourself in his shoes and imagine how your life would be if you were locked away for the next 13 years.
What world would you enter?
What do you think the most difficult adjustment you would have to make?
Escape jamais vu:
See eyeless to transcend self/social-delusion.
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 2nd Chance
University justice-involved empowerment programs into an organization,
institution, or facility, step forward; together we can make a difference.
In prison, sanity is balanced by lost years and steel
doors. Stick takes our workshop audiences on a quick mental venture as he
compares freedom to lines captivity.
2nd Chance University keeps the experience
real, giving all a taste of what life behind bars is like in an effort to pull
workshop participants back onto their path.
Lines are formed in
a silent hypnotic manner as we are told how to walk, where to sit, and when to
think. Don’t talk or act on your own initiative, for those things are reserved
for the free world.
Obey, work, obey,
work, and then you notice a faraway look in your coworker’s cold gray eyes.
Where is he looking?
For some it’s 2025
and for others 2040. Still others can only look back in time to that one
precious thought, that real moment in time, freedom, knowing they will never
hold freedom ever again.
eyes of an ex-convict, what do you think freedom means? Why would Stick claim
they will never hold freedom ever again?
To an ex-convict, what do you believe freedom
After our work day we silently shuffle down the
quarter-mile-long hallway that connects to our wings. They lead us to our
Cruel steel doors loudly slam behind us as we step
inside the small, dreary existence of home. The few possessions we are allowed
to keep try to fill the emptiness of our cement boxes.
Pictures from home, a small plastic radio and commissary
goods are no match for the colorless white and gray that overwhelms our
comfortless cells. But in this apathetic world these small concessions mean as
much as having a ten thousand dollar bank account in the free-world.
If you were in prison, what possessions would
you hold most dear and why
Day becomes night
and night becomes day with little variation in most of our lives.
We think back on
past mistakes that relentlessly chew on our memories.
For most of us
these memories are hurtful and hateful things we try to erase, but they
continue to creep, crawling into our awareness like a stinging scorpion.
Heartaches and headaches are now measured in choices that were wrong.
Sanity is balanced
by lost years and steel doors.
We suffer from a
broken past and a distant, uncertain future of when and how. When are we going
to get out, and how? Walking or carried out feet first?
doubt constantly lurk in the shadows of our mind. Insanity hides just behind
Do you believe Stick’s words ring true to what
it’s like in prison? Why or why not? What do you think prison is like on the
soul and sanity?
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, step forward; together we can make a
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.
do you think you know about doing time and 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.
Fresh from prison release, Mark gives a unique
perspective many will identify with.
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.
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.
2nd Chance University
2ndChanceUniversity has lived its design, writes about what we know concerning our years of empirical findings and shares what works by applying those years of experience living within the criminal justice system.
Our proprietary methods for altering potential criminal sentences, as well as helping those who have been sentenced to incarceration, builds on a structured methodology which allows those in pretrial and those leaving detention and incarceration to fit into society as a productive citizen.
Each justice involved person, including Juveniles, may find identity, significance, and purpose in life and to the values their social environment offers. 2ndChanceUniversity saves money, reduces recidivism and helps build communities by Educating, Empowering and Employing the justice involved.
We recognize employment is a key factor in helping the justice-involved. 2CU is built upon behavioral modification, trauma centered therapy and holistic approaches to breaking the revolving door of incarceration.
Within three years of being released, 60% of ex-prisoners re-offend and 52% are re-incarcerated, according to a study published in 2014. The rate of recidivism is so high in the United States that most inmates who enter the system are likely to reenter within a year of their release.
Therefore the lock them up and throw away the key methodology is not working as can be seen by the percentage of people going back to prison. 2ndChanceUniversity gives the justice-involved a solution to this problem. We teach them to learn, earn, and stay out.
Our program addresses the haunting effects of trauma, felt and witnessed horrible experiences attached to their environment. By addressing these issues we uncover the reasoning for many of the justice involved who exhibit a lack of empathy. Therefore the use of Looking Glass Self Theory helps them understand their situation and resonates a new meaning in their life as how to view the social constructs of society in a different and hopeful manner.
The team at 2ndChanceUniversity relies on proven concepts in order to break this revolving door of recidivism and the continuous cycle of poverty exemplified by incarceration. Our system has been proven and the principals of our program are walking examples of successful reintegration.
For individuals, organizations, and/or institutions dedicated to transforming the world, we are always looking for support and partnerships. Give me a call (407-878-0474) or email (dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org) for insight.
If you have not checked out the previous submission, you may feel a bit out-paced. Either way, here goes the second part as the journey to a Non Profit continues…
Since 2012 I’ve expanded our non-profit to support three justice-involved categories:
Youth reintegration and empowerment
Adult alternatives to incarceration
Pre- and post- release from incarceration
Six years later, our 4-month, 18-book, series/interactive workshops, are launching mainly because this once 16-year old softball player saw people in La Tuna as people… not as monsters… just people who made a mistake and needs to regain balance and Hope.
Over the years, this journey has had a personal cost of over six figures… the amount returned to cover? Zero… not one cent.
Worth it? You tell me, would you sacrifice years and over six figures with only Hope to make a positive difference in lives, families, and the world?
In this regard, will share participant journeys and how their lives change as we grow.
We are a 501 (C) (3) on the brink of great things… let me know if you would like to share in this journey; your insight, contacts, support, and donations are appreciated.
2nd Chance University is a non-profit designed for our youth as well as our adult population who have stumbled to regain their Commitment, Hope, and Empowerment.
If you chose to share or support, email me directly at dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org and if you or a family member played softball years ago while at La Tuna, thank you for letting me into your world.
Last time we stopped abruptly in the middle of Steven’s story, time to check out how his CHE Quotient — not too worry, for those not in the CHE Quotient know, you will soon.
Looking at the numbers, Steven had no chance…but you can’t always bet on the numbers…
What Steven had to learn was that he was a unique person with value. That he deserved a better future. That he could actively choose a different path than the one he had walked since his youth.
His lesson started there: by restoring hope, developing empowerment, and bolstering the commitment necessary to change one’s life. Recognizing his own potential and aware that failure (a return to prison) wasn’t an option, Steven committed himself to embracing these lessons and became one of our human element successes.
For Steven, 1 + 1 = SUCCESS!
“I had felonies in my background and I couldn’t get a job. You helped me overcome them in my interviews and become a man of integrity. Now I have a job! Thank you!”
Steven isn’t a number or a statistic, he’s a person. He’s a person who won’t be an inmate ever again. He’s a person able to find employment despite his past. He’s a person with the hope and skills to make his bright future real.
Speaking of numbers, his CHE Quotient doubled to 3.8, and that’s a number one can be proud of.
For the politicians and haters, statistics and numbers have their uses, but they don’t provide the whole picture. That’s why we measure numbers by lives changed: nothing else matters.
I invite you to join in—send your human element short story for publication consideration. Together, we will build a force and make a difference.
2nd Chance University is a non-profit dedicated to the socially invisible, those justice-involved seeking a journey of wonder and amazement.
“Circle the yard until every grain touches your soul.” Duck
Duck died last month, on parole. After serving 13 years in prison, he entered a world dramatically changed since beginning incarceration. Duck’s story, challenges, employment barriers, and societal roadblocks are not his alone.
After all, according to the latest Bureau of Justice Statistics:
One in four United States adults have a criminal record
The United States has 4% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated people
14,000,000 people move through the prison system every year (no typo here)
Time ain’t nothing but empty space. What we decide to put in the empty space determines who we are. Nothing else matters… nothing else.” Stick
Stick served time twice and is currently supervised by the board of pardons and paroles. While doing time, Stick took advantage of every educational opportunity and continued his education upon release. He too, is not alone according to the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (December 2014):
An estimated 6,899,000 persons were under the supervision of adult correctional systems at yearend 2013
About 1 in 35 adults (2.8%) in the United States was under some form of correctional supervision at yearend 2013
Recognizing the stories behind Stick and Duck are relatable to approximately one in four adults (not to mention affected family members), Education Career Services, Career Breakout, and 2nd Chance University are dedicated to providing successful offender transitional programs and books into an often non-forgiving public.
For over ten years, Duck and Stick consulted with the research, writing, and coaching teams, offering a perspective and reality into “Walls, Bars, and Razor Wire… You Choose” as well as our six-book intensive series offered through 2nd Chance University.
What have we learned over the years? Glad you asked. Positive offender reintegration as well as personal and professional success can become a reality. Will it be easy? Not a chance. Are there help and resources to get you on your path? There is, Career Breakout has taken the lead.
Research highlights many employers ARE willing to give second chances if the individual possesses these basic characteristics (just to name a few):
The right mindset: too often offenders are not mentally prepared to the challenges they will be facing upon release and for years to come. Taking wishes out of the equation and keeping it real must be the first step… and that comes from within as detailed by Duck and Stick.
Honesty: Offenders are watched like an eagle, accept it, live with it. This means no lying on job applications, during interviews, or while networking. This does NOT mean one should shout to the world background blemishes… don’t get me wrong.
Confidence: When asked about an arrest, conviction, or probation, own it. Once accepted, turn poor past judgments into a learning and growing experience. There are several effective methods to do this, unfortunately there is not enough space to cover at this time (do get our website address concluding this article for available insight and resources).
Preparation: If you’ve never heard of a letter of explanation, time to get the groove on and develop one. Our material covers these, and above bullets, for your advantage.
As Duck, Stick, and thousands of others have found out, transitioning from prison to the “real world” begins with the self.
No one ever promised life after prison would be easy. Truth is, easy is not part of the equation, but there are common mistakes many felons make upon release. It’s not really their fault, they just didn’t know the right things to do after getting their 50 dollar voucher and bus ticket. With Career Breakout, the right things to do are in black and white.
Time is now to accept reality: the individual transitioning from razor wire fences are seen as a risk. Not knowing effective methods to turn risk into benefit or believing you won’t succeed places you on the fast track back to prison.
“What’s the use of trying? After 12 years in prison, I can’t change the stripes on my back.” Felix
Do you have what it takes to make it upon release or will the rebound find you with a violation? Believe it not, you have the power AND now you have the resources.
If you or someone you know desires to overcome barriers due to an arrest or conviction, invite them to review the latest publication from Career Breakout, Duck, and Stick. Warning, the contents offered demands an active role on your part and will only be effective if you are committed to freedom… at any cost.
There are no excuses but the ones you convince yourself you believe!
“I’m not a number.” Duck
Seeking material designed for those transitioning out of prison and choose freedom, visit www.CareerBreakOut.com and consider the most powerful book that will change your life: “Walls, Bars, and Razor Wire… You Choose.”