“For the most part, everyone does deserve a second chance—because we are all human and make mistakes," said Jackson.
“This will help me because I’m not a narrow-minded person, but this will stick in the back of my mind. It will be a constant reminder to always keep my eyes open and remember that good talent deserves to receive chances, regardless of their backgrounds (for the most part),” he added.
MaryEllen Mascia is a graduating senior, who currently serves in the Indiana Air National Guard, splitting her time between school, the military, and full-time work. Mascia works right now as a human resources coordinator.
“I thought the most important take away from the presentation was the idea of switching the mindset of employers,” said Mascia. “I loved the idea that Mr. Keesling talked about, using employment to make social change. By slowly changing habits of employers, it will work to lower the stigma that ‘people with records’ face when they are joining society again.
“The idea that ‘people with records’ continue to face discrimination and defeat after release is so sad. The sentences that these individuals were given should be the time that is required to pay for what they did, but in essence, we are continuing that sentence beyond what is required. That is unfair, and what Mr. Keesling and Dr. Porter are doing is a step toward making big changes. To be honest, this is not something I have thought a lot about, but it has made me aware. And that is the first step in making a change in yourself and ultimately impacting others.
“Getting ‘people with records’ back to work while building their confidence and life skills is making a huge impact on these individuals’ lives. It is proven in the recidivism rates for individuals who work at RecycleForce. This program seems to make a huge impact in these individuals’ lives, and as some of the quotes Dr. Porter shared, it may be saving their lives as well,” she added.