Photograph of Parole Project client, Damien

Meet Our Newest Clients | February 2023

DAMIEN was 15 years old when he received a life sentence. He was incarcerated for 27 years before getting his second chance. Before his incarceration he had only completed 8th grade, but where there he earned his GED and later worked as a nurse’s aide. Damien hopes to once again use his compassion to serve others however he can.
STEPHEN, 66, used his 20 years of incarceration in the most productive way possible. While incarcerated, he completed a master’s degree in religion, worked as a mechanic, and, most proudly, overcame addiction. Stephen is now using his resiliency to handle his newest challenge – reentering society after 20 years.
JOSEPH – affectionately known as “Smiley” – spent six decades in prison. Now 80 years old, he is entering a world completely different from the one he left. Smiley is a reminder that society does not benefit by keeping people in prison for that long.
ROBERT was incarcerated for 43 years. Now 66, he received his second chance and is now looking forward to reuniting with his sister in New Orleans. He added, “I hope I can repay her little by little for supporting me through all those decades.”
RASSIE was 16 years old when he was sentenced to life without parole. During his 28 years in prison, he matured and even worked as a hospice volunteer for 12 years. He says learning to be more compassionate and caring was an important part of his growth. Rassie now looks forward to a career in construction and using his hands to literally build a better world.
RANDLE received his second chance after 21 years in prison. An avid bookworm, he found peace and growth through reading history and poetry. Randle also began writing his own poetry to share his perspective on life. He is looking forward to using his second chance to build a stronger relationship with his daughter, who was just one year old when he went to prison.
During her 32 years in prison, DESSIE watched her granddaughter grow up from behind bars. Despite being separated for their entire relationship, her granddaughter was Dessie’s most unwavering supporter. Now that she’s free, Dessie says she is most excited for the two of them to grow closer and share experiences together.
Before her release after 33 years, CHARLONDA received a unique second chance while in prison. A few years ago, she suffered a severe aneurysm. During her recovery, she realized that it wasn’t her time or place to leave this life. Charlonda says that each day is a blessing because of that experience and her release. “I wake up every morning feeling like I won the lottery twice.”
ILA was sentenced to life without parole 26 years ago. A passionate artist, she used her paintings to create vibrance, share joy, and encapsulate life inside a women’s correctional facility. Ila’s artistic prowess was more than a creative outlet, however. She was recently commissioned to paint a mural on a local building.
GEORGE received his second chance after 36 years of incarceration. He credits his decision to have a relationship with Jesus Christ as his main source of refuge and motivation to pursue redemption. Since his release George is exploring all that life has to offer, looking forward to the simple things that he says he now appreciates more than ever.
MICHAEL was sentenced to life in prison 29 years ago. A self-described eternal optimist, he got through his days by trying to make people smile and bringing joy to those around him. Now that he is free, he wants to make an impact on others’ lives by sharing his story.
DION spent his incarceration preparing for his release, despite a sentence that offered little hope of a future. Now that he has received his second chance, he is doing everything possible to stay on top of the responsibilities of reentry. Dion is currently working to get his commercial truck driving license.