By: Brandon Brewer, Jermaine Hicks
The Power Of Restitution
How the Bridges to Life program has empowered Two Second Lookers
There are currently 1700 offenders in Texas adult prisons who were convicted and incarcerated while under the age of 18, also known as Second Lookers. While there are some in society who are questioning whether children convicted as adults deserve a second chance, some of these Second Lookers are playing pivotal roles in changing, not only their lives, but the culture of prison as well.
Offenders who are part of the McConnell unit Second Look population are being proactive in their individual development, as well as helping other prisoners achieve personal change. Two of these Second Lookers are Jermaine Hicks and Brandon Brewer. They both facilitate the national restorative justice program Bridges to Life.
Ex-gang member Mr. Hicks states, “It’s a program that allows prisoners to find healing while acknowledging how crime affects those who have been victimized, giving the opportunity to see the effects of their actions, become accountable, internalize restitution, and become serious about the true definition of repentance.” As co-creator/editor of the “Resilient News” newsletter for the Giddings State School, Hicks plans on teaching troubled teens the principles he has discovered throughout the Bridges to Life process.
For Field Minister Mr. Brewer the main struggle he’s encountered is, How do we live out our repentance? Having been part of Bridges to Life for seven years now as a peer to peer educator, he’s learned that the best way to say he is sorry is to walk it out. “Every day I live out my remorse for all the pain and suffering I brought into this world. Bridges to Life helped me to utilize my remorse in my ministry to affect positive change in the people around me. It has been my catalyst for change, my way of paying restitution to the victims of my crime.
Both Mr. Hicks and Mr. Brewer are highly involved in making a positive difference in changing other offender’s lives.
The Bridges to Life program at the McConnell unit started in the Spring of 2019, and graduated their first class on August 22, 2019. SOLC Transformation Fellowship sponsored their graduation, and both Mr. Hicks and Mr. Brewer look forward to beginning their next class in the Fall.