After being released from prison, Anthony Brown is working on repaying his debt to society. Through the BRIDGE program, Integrity is helping Anthony with his journey.
In an attempt to be a “street hustler,” Anthony said he made a series of bad decisions, including robbing a bank, which landed him a 17 year prison sentence.
When he first started his sentence, Anthony met a fellow inmate who wouldn’t allow him to play the victim. “He was grooming me not to be some wayward, lost soul, because [prison] can suck your soul. What he was doing was making me take ownership of my life, so that started the trajectory.”
Anthony said that there are four types of prisoners: the Model Prisoner, the Inmate, the Dreamer/Schemer, and the Redeemed. Anthony said he was fortunate enough to complete the CHALLENGE program, a therapeutic program that provided him with concept and tools to embrace positive growth, making him one of the Redeemed. “If you really buy into it, change is possible.”
Before his release, Anthony asked for re-entry resources and received a list of organizations. Integrity was the only organization listed that was still active. Anthony said the organization supported him, and that support gives him more incentive and motivation to live up to the ideals he has set for himself. “For Reverend Beckham and for the staff of Integrity to even welcome me with open arms, it means that there is evidence of my redemption. People can see it, people are willing to give me a try.”
Anthony completed the NET course and is now working on the Beautification Team as a Team Lead, and recently enrolled at Atlanta Technical College to gain some formal education.
Part of Anthony’s journey includes being an advocate for prison reform and an easier re-entry process for formerly incarcerated individuals, and he is working with Integrity’s Re-Entry team to do that. “I don’t want to be a martyr. I want to come out here and enjoy life, I want to spend more time with my daughters, I want to go on vacation, but I feel like the onus is on me to be a voice of what’s going on in these American prison systems. Who else better to speak about that than someone who actually lived it?”