I am a former criminal. I was thrown in jail for fleeing and eluding the police after leaving the scene where drugs were involved. What I learned most was not the error of my ways, but the error of the criminal justice system’s ways, and the error of a society that treats those of us who have been incarcerated as lifelong pariahs.

I was lucky. I am white. That fact gave me immunity not extended to my black and brown brothers and sisters. While my black and brown brothers and sisters received the harshest punishment allowable by law, I could not help but notice that I, as a young white man, was given a second chance – a real second chance – to mend my ways, and enter society as a whole human being. We were all born equally but life wound up giving us disproportionate outcomes. As part of my rehabilitation, I was allowed to work under a great chef.

 

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