Matthew Charles, Emily Colson—Two Featured Speakers at Inaugural Second Chance Month Gala at Historic Watergate Hotel
WASHINGTON, DC—Prison Fellowship, the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform, is hosting The Second Chance Month Gala on Thursday, March 28, 2019, at the Watergate Hotel Moretti Ballroom to kick off the 2019 Second Chance Month. FWD.us is also partnering with Prison Fellowship for this year's inaugural gala.
FWD.us is a non-profit organization committed to ending America's incarceration crisis by working with legislators and groups on both sides of the political aisle to drive real change at the local, state, and federal levels concerning criminal justice reform.
Prison Fellowship is celebrating the third annual Second Chance Month at the historic Watergate Hotel as a fitting reminder of the second chance story of our founder—the late Chuck Colson, former White House Counsel to President Richard M. Nixon.
Prior to the Gala, a news conference will be held inside the Elmore Room beginning at 5:00pm at the Watergate Hotel, 2650 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20037. Those attending the press event to address the media include:
- Matthew Charles, Families Against Mandator Minimums (FAMM), former prisoner released after the passage of the FIRST STEP Act;
- Emily Colson, speaker, author, and daughter of the late Chuck Colson;
- James Ackerman, President and C.E.O., Prison Fellowship;
- Craig DeRoche, Senior V.P. of Advocacy, Public Policy, Prison Fellowship;
- Heather Rice-Minus, V.P. of Government Affairs, Prison Fellowship;
- Lindsay Holloway, Executive Director, This is Living Ministries; and
- Pastor C.J. Rhodes, Pastor Mt. Helm Baptist Church, Jackson, Mississippi.
Prison Fellowship, joined by a bipartisan coalition of more than 270 organizations, is seeking to reduce the social stigma and barriers that plague Americans with a criminal record—one in four adults—who are trying to re-enter society and become contributing members of their communities.
SECOND CHANCE MONTH
For far too many who have served time behind bars, release from incarceration brings a new kind of prison. Some 65 million Americans have a criminal record. This limits their access to jobs, education, housing and other things necessary for a full and productive life. Any hope of a new identity while incarcerated can be quickly lost upon release when faced with the "second prison"—the more than 44,000 documented social stigmas and legal restrictions that inhibit opportunities to rebuild someone’s life after paying a debt to society. Second Chance Month is a national effort to raise awareness about these barriers men and women face and to unlock brighter futures for people with a criminal record.