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Friends,

This is an old picture of my son Kingston hugging me as I kneeled after a long day of chasing homies around.  I felt defeated that day, but Kingston's little hands held me tight.  In 1957 during the civil rights movement, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was speaking to an audience and said,
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is:
What are you doing for others?". 
At the time of this picture we weren't aware that Kingston had autism; just that he was a loving little boy who knew in his heart that the effect of him hugging me would soften my heart and bring me peace.  

Right now we are faced with so many new challenges that it has become hard to function as a normal society member let alone as an inmate or minority.  Bryan Stevenson says, 
"We can't change the world with ideas, we need conviction in our hearts".
So as we move forward with Second Chance Outreach we want to continue to bring you stories that will impact hearts to change, and hope where they say the hopeless live; as I once lived there too.  This month we introduce you to the homie Marquis, share our love for our homie Angel, and provide an update on the blessings of the Hope for Homies project.  And as always, we remain grateful for our supporters, who provide us with time, inspiration, and the energy to keep going.  May God's blessings shine clearly in your lives and hearts.

Always In Gratitude,
Neaners
Hey guys.. I'm Jerome Hurt, but today I'm known as Marquis Jones. I'm currently incarcerated for the death of Michael Gilbert. A home invasion homicide was the demise of the both of us, two lives were taken based on the decision of one sole conspirator Who at the time was my co-defendant. He and he alone made the sole decision to take Michael's life, however I'm also guilty for participating in the murder of Mr. Gilbert. Even though I didn't pull the trigger my guilt has rendered me as a responsible accomplice. Sad as it seems I want to distance myself from the homicide as much as possible, but in the eyes of the law and the family I'm just as culpable. If that's the case then will you be surprised to know that the shooter is a free man?  Here I sit as the one responsible, because i didn't rat.  Let me be the first to say loyalty is costly when you can't afford it.  I was given a 65 year sentence.  Which is considered Life Without Parole (LOWP). If I may at this moment I'd like to share with you my road to destruction, which started at the age of 10 in Watts Los Angeles, CA.  I was incarcerated for burglary, an older man told me he was locked out of his house and needed me to climb through his window and open the door. So I was lifted up and into the house. Which neighbors saw and called the police, I was not scared of jail at ten because my life at home was worse than jail. No electricity, scarce food, drug infestation, everything was designed to groom me for a life of hardships. I didn't value anything because I had nothing to value. My mom chose drugs over me, the only love I had came from my Great Grandmother, but she had no understanding of the taunts I received as a child with nothing. So I acted out to get attention and to blend in. Unfortunately this lead me to a life of no consideration for the life of others, or myself. I never worked, nor did I graduate from school becaus the institution wanted something from me that I could not give. Which was my attention. I came to Washington as a child for a funeral, and I remember that I had a great time here, but when I returned broken at an older age I brought with me all my destructive ways. I shot people but never killed anyone, GOD BLESS. I didn't care if I died or not, where I come from you don't make 18, let alone 21, but the system is what l know saved me from an embarrassing fate,  of being identified from under a sheet. many of my friends have died not seeing 18. I asked why am I still here with all this pain in my heart, although I know now that it was all misguided, then I blamed everything and everyone. For me to rob a person who played in my arena was nothing, I never harmed those I called civilians, no purse snatching, or robbing storefronts, but if you were a gang member then you were in my sights, if you sold drugs I'll rob you because you can't call the police. Unfortunately,he was selling drugs, it was routine to take what he had, but what happened was not in my cards, but I'm different from others I know when too far is too far. I couldn't read my co-d's mind I didn't know he was going to shoot or kill that brother. However I'm still in the same position as I was in when I was sentenced, fighting for a glimpse of truth to prevail. I've been filing brief after brief because I want a second chance at this precious thing called life. I made a mess of the first go round,  but I'm not a mistake that is a human,  I'm a human who made many mistakes.  In the word of GOD it says a righteous man falls several times but gets back up and since my incarceration, my time structure won't allow me to participate in any of the programs that is available to those that they deem is ready. This is called Release Readiness, and my E.R.D is 2056. I'm not a priority in the eyes of DOC. So my conduct and behavior modification has been my own tried and true effort. I knew that something had to be extracted from my mind and heart before I can truly heal from my past resentment and pain. This journey has been bumpy with more valleys than peaks, but the valleys that I was use to are not fitting, once you experience the goodness of YASHA  who the world calls Jesus, there is no greater feeling. He has allowed me to give love and also receive love beyond measure, its impossible to say you love him and hate your fellow man and woman. I have no malice in my heart for the way my life turned out. I see that the most high has made it for the betterment of my well being. My mom has apologized to me after 37 years of neglect. Which I have forgiven her for. All my co-defendants I have forgiven and only want the best for them as they go on in their lives. Mr. Cipolla, the DA. I have forgiven for the over prosecution and know that without this sentence I would of never sought change for myself. I was ready to die somewhere, the streets or prison, until death is your companion you change your mind fast. You see I know why I was given this sentence, it was ordained by GOD to bring about correction to the error of my ways, it was not fitting for his purpose for me. I am not a preacher or anything close, I'm just one who has a profound understanding of life and its truest meaning, consideration and being mindful of the wellbeing of GOD'S  creation. I value the life of those that feel, and hurt, as we all do, I have never been a neighbor and I want to, I have never thought that love was pure until my wife who has never left my side since my incarceration. 20 years she gave me her all, because of her I now have a home and family that have never judged me.  People that support our unconventional relationship, and my concerns are based solely on the fact that... do you all know what sincerity looks like?  And if so can you hear it without seeing someone, can you see it even if you are looking at someone? I know that those people that make decisions on second chances  have a lot to consider,  not for themselves but for the community. Let me assure you of one thing my heart has been renewed, my mind has been transformed and I could never allow myself to place hurt, or bring pain to anyone. I fear GOD and he has allowed me to see future disobedience, and I only want to please him, and love what he has given me which is hope. Please don't fear the unknown, I honestly know that I will make a difference in the lives of all those I encounter because my testimony is rewarding. Everyday I wake up in here I'm reminded of what I did 20 years ago, I would love to heal from this past pain and seek the forgiveness from Michael's family. No one wants to be reminded of their screw ups (none of us).  The classes that I was able to take I did my best and completed them all, Long Distance Dads, Restore Therapy Group, Stress Anger Management, and Custodial Services. I also took a college course in Rhetoric where I received credits from Wittman college. GUYS look of course I want a second chance, because I know I'm deserving of it. I was 24 when I was arrested with the mind of a child, I'm 44 today with a vision so clear not at all jaded by my circumstances, but excited for the future of my journey only to look down to help people up, and only to look back for self reflection. Peacefully a second chance  is all we need to set things in it's right standing, you will have no choice but to see GOD at work in me. Thank you kindly for reading this.
 PS... My brother Neaners is a soldier in the army of Yasha. Praise YAH. For this brother to come from a situation design to swallow you whole, to only be spewed out on dry land like Jonah. Obedience is a heart trained by GOD. I hope my brief illustration will shine light on those in a dark place, the most high says let your light so shine, and that's what I do. Second Chance Outreach to me is more than an outreach, it's a welcoming. 
Marquis Jones 753681
Coyote Ridge Corrections 
April 2020.

Grateful for our Homie Angel

We want to give a big shoutout to Angel for all his hard work.  When Angel and I were in prison together, we never imagined working side by side on the outside.  Now, I am so proud of all he has accomplished.  Angel has been going strong for us at Second Chance Outreach by making sure all of our tattoo removal homies are respectful and coordinating with our tattoo removal people.  In addition to being our tattoo removal coordinator volunteer, he also works 40 hours a week and raises his baby girl a long side his lady.  I have learned so much about perseverence from watching Angel's progress.  I’ve never seen someone fight so much to be able to make it out here and not give up.  Angel has shown us at Second Chance Outreach that when you don't give up, the fight isn't done.

So friends, we want give Angel a big thank you for teaching us what a true fighter looks like.  We bless you, Angel, for the blessings you give to us and the guys we work with.  Much love, homie.
Hope for Homies
Project Update

As you see in the picture above, I got the tractor stuck again.  I think I've become a expert on that.  Years ago when I was in solitary confinement I envisioned the Hope For Homies farm, a safe haven for guys like us where we could grow things together and, in doing so, experience growth together.  At the time, I hadn't envisioned getting the tractor stuck in the mud - but as we build this project I'm experiencing other things I hadn't yet envisioned either.

I have spent numerous hours, days, months and years listening to homies' pains as they were doing their time alone, and absorbing some of their anger when they would re-offend.  It's always hurtful to me to see a homie re-offend, because I have been in their shoes and know that the right type of love and support might have made a critical difference in their lives.

Yesterday the homie Cat came to us.  He's not been seeing his baby as much as he'd like - this is a common trigger that can lead to reoffending.  Instead of lashing out, though, he came to the farm.  The farm provided him a place to take a break and diffuse, so he could make choices he knew to be better.  The same day we got a call from a former gang member getting ready to be released from prison.  He didn't have an address to be released to or kinship support for when he gets out.  He'd been turned down by other organizations and was relieved that we would try to help and would welcome him into our community when he's ready.  These are small cries of a community seeking a better life but facing obstacles continuously.  I know that we can't fix all their problems, but we can embrace them as they look for better choices so they don't lose hope for a better future.

Father G from Homeboys Industries says,
"You stand with the least likely to succeed until success is succeeded by something more valuable: kinship.  You stand with the belligerent, the surly and the badly behaved until bad behavior is recognized for the language it is: the vocabulary of the deeply wounded and of those whose burdens are more than they can bear."
 
The Hope for Homies farm isn't just a place to harvest food or find quiet.  The farm is a place of healing and continuing love that overshadows pain and shame.  It's open arms to homies when they need it - and a place where they can open their arms to others when the time is right.  We may not know how to heal every homies' pains or soothe their fears, but we do know how to listen and support them as we find the help they need.

As it turns out, our neighbor Bill noticed that I had the tractor stuck in the mud again.  He brought over his tractor to help pull me out.  On my own, I would have either ended up digging the tractor out myself or giving up for the day and going home grumpy.  But Bill's help made it easier and faster and less frustrating.  Giving up wasn't an option when I had a friendly face telling me we could get it done.  That's the help we try to give to homies: the kinship and love that will lift them out of the mud they feel stuck in so they can move their lives forward with peace of mind.

Please keep these two homies in prayer with us, and let us know about others needing prayer that you may encounter in your path.  And please pray that our Hope For Homies project will continue to be a place where homies can encounter the grace and love that God offers so freely.
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Donations to Second Chance Outreach are exempt from federal income tax under IRC section 501(3)(c), and help us continue to assist homies ready to change.  Thank you so much for considering donating today.
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