"I was at the Shelby County Correctional Center when my youngest girl came with her mother for a visit. She wasn't even a year old yet and this was the first time I had ever seen her walk. She was a Daddy's girl. Wherever I would go, she wanted to follow me. When visiting time was over and I had to go back in, she didn't want me to leave. She cried and tried to follow me. That's when the judge's words really hit me; they were true. My girls needed me, and I wanted to be there for them. I went back to my cell and cried. I just knew I didn't ever want to leave them again. 'Shock incarceration' is what they call it when you think you're getting probation and you get an indefinite sentence. It worked for me. It truly worked.
"That was 21 years ago. Once I was released, I never went back to jail. My life is completely different now. This December I'll graduate from the University of Memphis with my B.A. in Human Services. I've been with HopeWorks for 13 years now, teaching classes and trying to help guys who are in the same position I was in."