Education helped Chad find success after prison. But it was faith that helped him thrive.
Chad Prince was 27 years old when he went to prison. Working as a bartender in Louisiana, he got involved with a bad crowd. "I saw a lot of craziness going on there, and I started questioning it," Chad recalls. "The next thing you know, I get arrested for murder."
Shipped off to the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as "Angola," Chad was mad. "I [had] paid a lot of money for the lawyer, and I felt like the lawyer really didn't do anything at the trial," he says. "So, I started studying law."
Chad proved to be a good student. Prison gave him time to thoroughly research cases and learn how to file briefs.
Like 95% of all incarcerated people, Chad knew that one day he would be released from prison. "What was I going to do?" he asks. "I wasn't going to go back to bartending and waiting tables … [but] I couldn't practice law because I had a felony involving moral turpitude. So, I said, 'Well, why not be a paralegal?'"
Chad applied for a Pell grant and began taking a correspondence course through Southern Careers Institute.
BROKEN AND HUMBLED
When Chad left prison, he was a certified paralegal. He quickly began to thrive in the professional world, making money and rising in the hierarchy. He switched gears and left law to become a loan officer, then a broker. But although Chad had the education and training he needed to be a successful businessman, he lacked the maturity to handle his wealth and success.
Poor decisions led Chad back to prison. Arriving again at Angola, he caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror. He was wearing a white prison jumpsuit and carrying everything he owned in two small bags. Chad broke down.
"I went back to prison with this humble attitude instead of being the jerk that I had become," Chad says. He began spending more time with God, singing worship songs, and reading the Scriptures. "The more God show[ed] me the depths of my selfishness and depravity … the more I repented and tried to do better."
PUTTING GOD AND COMMUNITY FIRST
Rather than returning to law after his second release from prison, Chad focused his life on serving God and his community. He worked odd jobs and went back to college to become a mental health counselor—again with the help of a federal Pell grant. He also began to pursue videography and later joined Prison Fellowship as a video producer.
Like before, Chad has met with success, but he doesn't dwell on his achievements. Instead, he continues to devote himself to God and to serving others. He's worked with the homeless, and he has taught prisoners about audiovisual media.
"All of this stemmed from a bartender who goes to prison, gets himself a Pell grant, starts studying law, becomes a certified paralegal, and comes out and sets the world on fire," Chad says. "All I have is work ethic and enthusiasm and the rest is God. But now as I'm maturing I'm seeing that even my work ethic and my enthusiasm comes from my spiritual relationship with God. So pretty much it's all about God."
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