Words & Banter

Have You Ever Wanted A Second Chance? Or A "Do Over"?

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash

Has there ever been a time when you wished you had a chance for a “do-over”? We’ve all made bad decisions at times. Sometimes it’s something small. Other times it can be life-changing. Second chancesare opportunities to show we’ve learned from our mistakes. So, who wouldn’t want a second chance?

For many people who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law, a second chance might be all that’s needed to truly turn their lives around, which is why April was first proclaimed Second Chance Month in 2017. But five years before that, when we detoured into the criminal justice world, Red’s perspective on second chances changed dramatically …



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I had no idea that April was “Second Chance Month” until you sent me the official proclamation. I find it interesting that in the midst of juggling our usual million and one Red & Black things, your interest in criminal justice, which I know you consider a “passion project”, is as strong as ever, maybe even stronger.


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It is not intentional, sometimes “ passion projects” find you. And, when you least expect it.


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Or where you least expect it! Only you would take a “field trip” to a men’s prison.


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I will not get on my soapbox about how our education system contributes to the criminal justice problem. I will never forget a friend of mine who was formerly incarcerated telling me, “Rehabilitating people makes the assumption they were habilitated in the first place.”


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When you stop and think about that statement, it’s pretty powerful! But I have to smile as once upon a time you, and I, used words like “offenders” and “prisoners” until we learned how our choice of words could be dehumanizing .


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Says the woman who once believed in the idea of “lock ’em up and throw away the key”.

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That was before! I know you told me that just because someone made a bad decision, it didn’t make them a bad person, but it sounded like a cliche. Now, my opinion is based on our experience and the impact we’ve seen . The feedback has been eye-opening. Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with “do-overs.”

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Exactly. None of us are perfect. We have all made bad decisions. Second chances are about opportunities to show we have learned from our mistakes.

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Well, I know I have. Obviously, not anything illegal. But it made me determined to teach my daughters what I had learned. Probably one of the most heartwarming parts of the feedback we’ve received is that so many people on the inside want better – not only for themselves, but for their children and grandchildren.

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Yes, which is why having a second chance is so critical. And, helping set people up for success, not failure, because it is about more than changing the lives of the formerly incarcerated -- it can change the lives of their families and, in turn, our communities and our country.

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A ripple effect that could mean more people may get it right the first time and not need a second chance.

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True. Maybe we should look at it as giving society a second chance …
Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock

Are you taking the Dry January challenge and not having any alcohol for the month? Or, maybe you plan to drink less (but not nothing), which makes it Damp January. Or, maybe this is the first you’ve heard of it. (If so, there’s still time to start!)

Well, nothing much has changed from our approach to Dry January last year, except the one who had started drinking more last year is continuing the trend …



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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK , started Dry January , where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
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It’s January, and everyone’s probably tired of reading about New Year’s resolutions.

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Not me. Since I never make them, I never feel the need to read about them.

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Of course, you don’t. So, what should we write about?

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How about that we celebrate some of our favorite things in January?

So many “National Days” in January are fun (we’ve written about them over the years) and remind us of some of our favorite things. (Can you pick which are Red’s favorite holidays and which are Black’s?) And whether or not you make resolutions, it’s always important to have a sense of humor and enjoy the simpler things in life …

Answer: Red’s favorites are Bagels, Popcorn, and Hugging. Black’s are Clean Desk, Bagels, and Backward.

Wishing you Happy 2024 – with new beginnings and much more!