Anthony Jackson is a husband, a father, an entrepreneur, and also a former inmate. Serving thirteen years in prison changed his life and put him on a path of advocacy and entrepreneurship. He is a director of media relations as well as the founder of Expedite Vending Services. 

Tell us a little about life since being released from incarceration. 

Anthony: Life since being released from incarceration has been both great and challenging but overall rewarding. During my incarceration, I became very goal oriented. I would create yearly monthly, weekly, and daily goals because ultimately this would provide me with the mental and spiritual atonement needed to succeed. Upon my release I wasted no time starting a business and utilizing resources I garnered working with different organizations during my sentence. 

While challenges are a part of life, there were plenty I faced and still face today. Due to my incarceration at a young age, I’ve had limited life experience. Some lessons I should’ve learned in my early twenties, and late teens I learned within my first year of release. Reconnecting and building relationships with my family members again was challenging in various ways. Understanding and adjusting to technology was challenging as well. 

It feels rewarding to be blessed with a second chance. In my situation second chances aren’t easy to come by but the lessons during my incarceration and since my release are the real rewards. 

What programs are you aware of that help returning citizens?

Anthony: I’ve had the opportunity to work with and be a part of some organizations helping returning citizens. From Prison to PhD assists people with criminal convictions by way of advocacy, mentoring, and policy change. They inspire people with criminal convictions to excel BEYOND what society and life circumstances have set to be the norm. 

Another is the University of Baltimore Second Chance College Program. This program provides returning citizens with reentry support services, and tuition assistance if he or she wanted to attend the university and receive mentoring from their peers who are successfully continuing their education or well versed within their careers.

Tell us about the program you enrolled in while still incarcerated. 

Anthony: While incarcerated, I had a keen focus on education and enrolled in non-credited college courses for two years. With a dream to one day attend college and earn actual credits, my dream came true. In 2012, Presidents Barack Obama brought back Pell Grants for incarcerated citizens as a pilot program allowing Colleges to teach accredited courses to inmates while incarcerated. By the grace of God, I was selected to be a student in the pilot cohort of our nation’s inaugural Second Chance Pell Grant Program. Today, I am still attending the University of Baltimore and a member of their Helen P. Denit Honors Program.  

Tell us about your business and the inspiration behind it. 

Anthony: The inspiration behind starting my vending services was to earn passive income and exemplify to my family entrepreneurship and being your own boss should be the way to go. As a teenager, I had different jobs, but I hated working for someone else. I always felt having my “own” would aid me on a journey to not only assist myself but my family and others more effectively.

How has entrepreneurship helped provide opportunities for you? 

Anthony: Entrepreneurship has provided many opportunities for me in multiple aspects of my life, both personally and professionally. Developing the willingness to learn is always an opportunity. I’ve had opportunities to expand my network by meeting different individuals and building meaningful relationships that have served as a great stepping stone in growing my business. 

What can others do to help returning citizens that have changed their life and are looking for a fresh start? 

Anthony: Just show that you are there for support and try to be patient. Being released back into society isn’t easy and can be very overwhelming.

How can people remain in touch with you?


Photo Credits: Photo Provided