For some justice-involved individuals, finding a sense of direction after incarceration can be one of the most difficult tasks. Through hard work, dedication, and lots of research, Fred Martin has been continuously carving his own path towards rehabilitation in our Kansas City community.
While incarcerated, Fred found himself in a position where he didn’t have a lawyer or the funds to obtain one, so he took it upon himself to research how to help himself and others once he was released. “I learned myself what I had to do to help get myself out. I wanted to know how to protect myself, how to defend myself, so I got the books written by people that knew, and I started doing it,” explained Fred. Aside from extensive research, Fred was able to go to school, work, and even became the Chief Programmer of Channel 6, a prison television station. Through the changes he was able to implement, he decided that he was going to do something different with his life.
When Fred reentered the Kansas City community after 30 years of incarceration, he hit the ground running with the ideas he formulated while inside. “I came out with the idea of doing something for myself” and wanting to “reform myself in the image of something positive,” Fred stated in an interview. In this transition, parole has been helpful for establishing guidelines to help lead to a more structured lifestyle. According to Fred, “if we don’t have a structured life, a disciplined life, or guidelines that we set for ourselves, you need somebody to do it.” With his do-for-self mindset, Fred decided to join the Second Chance Risk Reduction Program, publish a book, start IFAA Legal Services, and go back to school at Penn Valley Community College to study Criminal Justice.
After discussing the successes in Fred’s life thus far, it was obvious that many different people and organizations have played a role in his transition back into the community. Having his daughter, cousin, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have been very beneficial to Fred, as they won’t accept anything less from him. Fred also gives much credit to the Second Chance Program for acting as a consistent support system to him. He joined the program in 2016 and eventually graduated case management, which involved help with employment, housing, and bridging other transitional gaps. When asked about how Second Chance has aided his many success, Fred stated that “I support them because they support me. It’s something else that’s not material.” To this day, Fred still is an active advocate for the Second Chance program, attending our weekly Job Clubs and keeping in close contact with the staff.
Fred also recognizes that the Kansas City community has his back, stating that “for somebody to believe in you and believe you’re a good person and that you can do good things, that’s something. That’s motivation.” According to Fred, it’s easy to return to where you once were, but community members have helped him stay strong and focused on his goals. Fred also gives much of his thanks to God for helping provide him with the people that have shown up for him and provided guidance along the way, as well as his mother who passed away at age 72. He strives everyday to make her proud.
Fred has graduated from the Second Chance program, obtained training to become an Reentry Employment Specialist, participated as an entrepreneur in Project United Knowledge to help build his business, and has made the Dean’s List at Penn Valley Community College. To purchase Fred’s book After Conviction, go to Amazon.com or contact IFAA Legal Services.