People who have been incarcerated face significant barriers when they return to the community to pick up their lives. Sean Ahshee Taylor and Justin Larson will be discussing life before, during, and after prison from the point of view of two men who have served time and are now on the front lines of helping to change the face of re-entry in Colorado. Mr. Taylor and Mr. Larson work for Second Chance Center, an organization that for over eight years now has been on the cutting edge of new approaches to assisting people as they return from prison.
Mr. Taylor will introduce the audience to the work of the Second Chance Center, and Mr. Larson will lead a discussion about the key lessons the organization has learned regarding the most effective approaches to this work.
Takeaways will include:
- how to foster a sense of belonging in this population;
- the reasons why state and national recidivism rates are approaching 50% when the same rates are below 10% for Second Chance Center participants
- the methods that Second Chance Center uses to achieve such rates
- a dive into use of names and language to frame past experiences
Justin Larson grew up in Kansas City, and was deep into drug addiction before he was 18. Ultimately, he ended up in prison, where he had a simple but life changing experience - he helped another man pass the GED. Fulfilled in a way he hadn't known before, he started taking college classes to become a substance use counselor, realizing that he could give his own experiences meaning by helping others. After his release, he obtained a Bachelor's of Science in Human Services (with an emphasis in Mental Health Counseling) and was hired at Second Chance Center, where he now proudly serves as the Program Development Manager and a Care Manager. Justin has completed his course work for a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at UNC and is preparing to do his clinical supervision hours.
Sean Ahshee Taylor was born in Springfield Massachusetts but grew up primarily in Denver Colorado. In the late eighties, at the age of 17, Sean got himself into serious trouble and was sentenced to life in prison. Upon his incarceration, he began a journey of bettering himself. After serving 22 years within the Department of Corrections the outgoing Governor, Bill Ritter Jr., commuted Sean’s life sentence and he was released from prison. This former gang member and lifer is now the Deputy Director and Certified Fitness Instructor for the Second Chance Center. Sean is also a Gang Intervention Specialist who partners with the Department of Corrections as the lead facilitator of the iL.I.V.E. Mentoring program, to reduce the amount of negative security threat group activity within the DOC. As a member of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN), Sean has touched lives in ways that have manifested in prison releases and a growing national support for youth sentencing reform. He has also written op-eds and participated in media interviews to highlight the importance of second chances, but most importantly, and what is most impactful, is the positive change that Sean demonstrates in his daily life. Sean is an ambassador for those who deserve the same opportunities that he was given. In short, Sean is helping to change the narrative and shine a light of hope upon the faces of those who had been shoved into darkness as children, many years ago. Sean is confident that in 2020 he will continue to see more deserving people go home, and he will continue to see an increase in the number of states that have banned the cruel and inhumane practice of “juvenile life without parole.” Just like other Second Chance Center, ICAN, and iL.I.V.E. staff, Sean’s love, compassion, and insights help to fuel the movement with the hope and determination it needs to be successful.
Eligible for two hours Certificate of Completion.
This event is co-sponsored by
Second Chance Center of Colorado