A Second Chance for Former Prisoners, Gang Members


October 11, 2016
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
One nonprofit is heavily recruiting reformed delinquents from disadvantaged communities and funneling them into college. The troubled youth - many of whom have committed crimes and have been in jail, are given personal advisers, free college-prep courses, childcare, bus passes and other forms of support to keep off the streets.

One nonprofit is heavily recruiting reformed delinquents from disadvantaged communities and funneling them into college. The troubled youth - many of whom have committed crimes and have been in jail, are given personal advisers, free college-prep courses, childcare, bus passes and other forms of support to keep off the streets.

College Bound Dorchester has enrolled about 130 students over the past three years and guides students into Bunker Hill and two other Boston Colleges - Roxbury Community college and Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. Some students are homeless and others are victims of domestic abuse. In spite of their dark pasts, 30 percent have earned an associate or bachelor's degree and 60 percent of those who start the program continue the following year.

Giovanne Morris is proof that you can overcome hardship and become successful. Though he may have been previously known for "the destruction he caused growing up in a neighborhood teeming with guns, drugs, and violence", Morris recently received a standing ovation for his matriculation speech at Bunker Hill Community College. He is currently headed into his second semester of college, majoring in human services and hoping to become a counselor for a middle school or nonprofit organization. He described his struggle to fit in with his peers, often feeling "more accepted in the streets." His ankle monitor and the scar on his wrist are a reminder of the past he has chosen to leave behind in order to pursue greater opportunities for himself and his son and daughter.

Morris hopes to be a "different kind of role model" than he was prior to joining College Bound Dorchester. The program, which is located in one of Boston's most dangerous neighborhoods scopes out 17-27-year-olds with "a track record of leading their peers into crime" and turns them into "core influencers" who can utilize their "charisma and leadership that got them into trouble to become positive influences in their communities." The cost of achieving this goal isn't cheap - funds come from mostly private donations but is worth it, according to leaders who claim it's cheaper than the alternative.

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Stephen K  on  11/2/2016 6:40:55 PM commented:

I have one of the worst charges you could have and I got luck and only got ten years of probation with no prison. Since I started probation and almost no one wants to hire me I decided that I will have to hire myself. Having no idea what I wanted to do I enrolled at Valencia College. They rejected my application saying I was a risk to their students. I appealed it they let me in and 3 years later I am now a certified Computer Programming Specialist and I am gong to make apps for small to medium sized businesses and websites. I lost my financial aid a little over a year ago and Valencia is around $350 per class so I have been working and paying little by little each month taking only one class per semester. Next semester I will get my financial aid back and will finish my associates degree. I was in a homeless camp with my fiance for 8 months so I could afford class. Times have been hard but you can get thru if you stick to the plan even if you don't know what that plan is. It will come with time. Don't ever quit or give up. I am a great example of that. Be strong no matter what and you will succeed.

mohamed ibnu yousuf abdalla  on  10/21/2016 8:43:03 AM commented:

Have Never Commit Crime That Lead Me To Jail,but I Suffer From Abject Poverty Which Hinder Me From Archieved My Educational Right.I Want To Be Part Of The Beneficiaries.Thanks

Ibrahim Yusuf  on  10/17/2016 12:01:18 PM commented:

I Have Never Commit Crime That Lead Me To Jail,but I Suffer From Abject Poverty Which Hinder Me From Archieved My Educational Right.I Want To Be Part Of The Beneficiaries.Thanks

Candace H  on  10/15/2016 2:02:24 PM commented:

I think it is really cool that they're getting second chances because everyone deserves it. It will help our communities and country in the long run

Destiny .N.  on  10/13/2016 10:19:32 PM commented:

OK well I was just released from a federal prison in June.. How do we apply for the second chance act grant??

Arion W.  on  10/13/2016 6:34:46 PM commented:

I believe that everyone deserves a second chance. What happened in the past should not deflect your future. Everyone did not grow up the same or live in the same places, so you can't judge someone. There are low income and high income flailed who liv different lifestyles, and that re intales how you grow. How you learn and what you do. Those who made mistakes had to have had a cause for doing that and realized they were better than that. But it would have been too late. There should always be a second chance, because everyone messes yo sometimes, right.

Chaitanya allu  on  10/11/2016 11:16:50 PM commented:

Really good

Jordin S.  on  10/11/2016 6:35:48 PM commented:

Living in a lower income home and community, I have always faced the risk of running into crime, violence, drugs and so on. However, my family, teachers, and peers never pet that hinder their encouragement for a collage bond future. Dispute where you come from, if you have the motivation, passion, and support for higher success, you will be able to excel no matter your circumstances.

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