Thank you all for following along with our Instilling Change series and recognizing the wonderful successes that our participants have had. We look forward to talking to more of our folks throughout the next several months. -- Most young teenagers are looking forward to big life events such as their first prom, obtaining a drivers license, and high school graduation. When former Second Chance participant Jeremaine Perry was a young teen, his future was a life in prison without parole.
Although life behind bars seemed bleak, Jeremaine took it upon himself to get involved with activities to better himself. He attended multiple classes and programs, one of them being Puppies for Parole. He also helped facilitate the pre-release reentry program created by Michelle McAfee, who is now a Resource Specialist at Second Chance. Jeremaine was part of this group for three years and was able to develop a relationship with the Second Chance program during this time. Through the pre-release program, Jeremaine was able to help other inmates prepare for their own releases and assist with other administrative tasks. According to Michelle, he served as a consistent leader and role model for his peers.
Due to Jeremaine’s hard work and a change in a state statute, he was able to appear in front of the parole board and discuss his accomplishments while incarcerated. Consequently, he was granted life on parole in 2016. Because of the connection he made to the Second Chance program while in prison, he moved to the Kansas City area rather than immediately reuniting and home-planning with his family. Within three hours of his release in March of 2018, Jeremaine attended a Second Chance Job Club.
Through the Second Chance program, Jeremaine has been able to obtain assistance with areas such as job development/coaching, receiving work clothes and financial assistance with rent. In an interview, Jeremaine stated that the strong support system has been the most important thing he has received from Second Chance. “They are the people that you know always have your best interest at heart and don’t judge you. You can step out of prison with a million dollars but if you don’t have the right mental frame or the right people around you, you can collapse quickly,” said Jeremaine. While he has been successful in his endeavors, he stated that getting comfortable with society has been a big barrier post-incarceration. With his hard work and determination to succeed, he is now supervised on the lowest level of parole less than 18 months back in the community and has fulfilled his goal of living independently.
As of today, Jeremaine is still in the Kansas City area working as an electrician at A1 Solar. He recently transitioned from All Star Electrical to further develop his skills in the electrician trade. Aside from work, he has participated in several reentry events in the community to help build hope for the future. In 2019, he spoke at a Second Chance Welcome Back, a community education event at Unity North, and a Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission board meeting. He has also volunteered at a reentry simulation for the Chamber of Commerce.
If Jeremaine isn’t working, you can most likely find him volunteering at Harvester’s and salsa dancing on the weekends. He is a true example of someone who has succeeded when given a second chance. -- Second Chance is a program of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission. If you have any further questions, please contact us at 816-231-0450.