recidivism success stories

fighting recidivism

Defeating recidivism,
one success story at a time


The founding of Changing Perceptions was based on one simple principle: To assist men and women in their quest to re-enter both society and the workforce after incarceration.

To many, this may appear a simple task, yet in reality, the obstacles often seem insurmountable.  Tasks like securing housing in a supportive environment, and quality employment are always a challenge, and failure can often end up in a return to prison.

Changing Perceptions employs a Mentor-Mentee relationship-oriented platform that offers support and guidance for new re-entrants. Every peer mentor has personally and previously experienced incarceration – and the challenges associated with navigating re-entry into their communities


the power of redemption

Randall McNeil

Randall McNeil

Once confined by the walls of a prison cell, Randall McNeil’s story is one of extraordinary transformation and hope, a testament to the human spirit’s capacity for change and the profound impact of support and belief in second chances.

The Early Struggles and Incarceration

Randall’s journey begins with a youth marked by a single, life-altering mistake. At the age of 20, Randall faced a reality that would define the next two decades of his life: a life sentence in prison. His early years in the correctional system were marred by the weight of his sentence and the challenge of adapting to life within confines. However, Randall was not one to succumb to despair.

The Turning Point

His transformation began quietly in the prison’s law library, where Randall pored over legal texts, learning to advocate for himself and help others. His dedication to self-improvement didn’t stop there. Randall participated in various programs like conflict resolution and parenting classes, focusing on rebuilding his relationship with his children even while behind bars. These efforts did not go unnoticed. After serving 24 years, the judge recognized Randall’s rehabilitation and granted him a second chance at life outside prison walls.

The Role of Changing Perceptions

It was at this pivotal moment that Randall’s path intersected with Changing Perceptions, a beacon of hope for those seeking reentry into society. Changing Perceptions provided Randall with not just the basics like housing, employment, and transportation funds but also something less tangible but equally vital – mentorship and a community that believed in his potential.

BreakFree Education and Arnold Ventures

His engagement with BreakFree Education, an intensive workforce training organization, further honed Randall’s skills and prepared him for the next chapter. His determination and newfound skills led him to Arnold Ventures, where he took on the role of a criminal justice fellow. Here, Randall was not just another employee; he was a man with a mission, armed with a unique perspective shaped by years of incarceration. His work in criminal justice reform at Arnold Ventures wasn’t just a job; it was a calling, a chance to make a tangible difference in the world.

Personal Triumphs and Future Aspirations

Randall’s journey is punctuated by personal milestones – moving into his first apartment, marrying the mother of his children, nurturing dreams of homeownership, and continuing his career in criminal justice reform. Each step forward is a testament to his commitment to being better every day, to live up to the second chance he was given, and to be a beacon of hope for others in similar situations.

A Story of Change and Hope

Randall McNeil’s story is not just his own. It’s a narrative shared by many who find themselves lost in the justice system, yearning for a second chance. It’s a story of how the right support, opportunities, and personal determination can rewrite destinies. Randall’s journey with Changing Perceptions and Arnold Ventures exemplifies the transformative power of belief in human potential and the incredible resilience of the human spirit.

Through his journey, Randall McNeil stands as a living testament to the power of redemption and the impact of organizations like Changing Perceptions. His story is not just one of overcoming odds but of redefining perceptions, inspiring hope, and contributing meaningfully to society’s betterment. Randall’s life is a beacon of hope, demonstrating that with support, determination, and a second chance, anyone can turn their life around and become a force for positive change.


Lamont Peete

Lamont’s journey is a testament to the power of resilience and the importance of support systems. Despite spending more than two decades behind bars, he never lost sight of his dreams and aspirations. With the help of Changing Perceptions (CP) and other community organizations, Lamont was able to transform his life in ways he never imagined possible.

A significant milestone in Lamont’s journey was his release from prison, advocated by the Second Look Project. This marked the beginning of his new life outside prison walls. CP provided him with case management and planning services, helping him outline his short and long-term goals for a smoother transition back into society.

But Lamont didn’t stop there. He was determined to make the most of his second chance at life and seized every opportunity that came his way. He joined CP’s Peer Mentorship Program for additional support and advocacy services. Moreover, Lamont embarked on an entrepreneurial journey, partnering to launch two businesses: Entheo Home Care Services, which offers daily living assistance, including post-surgical assistance, physical disability support, companionship, and medication management, and Elite Transports, a transportation service dedicated to providing quality chauffeur services to the DMV region.

Through sheer determination and hard work, Lamont secured a full-time fellowship at the Civil Rights Corps by participating in a fellowship program at BreakFree Education. He was referred to the Capital Area Asset Builders and enrolled in the Opportunity Accounts Program to pursue his dream of becoming a full-blown entrepreneur with financial backing. With flex funding support from CP for his security deposit and first-month rent, Lamont began living independently. Remarkably, within ten months of release, Lamont was granted early termination of probation due to his successful reintegration into the community.

Lamont’s story is a beacon of hope and inspiration. It demonstrates that with determination and a positive mindset, we can surmount even the most formidable challenges in our lives. His journey underscores the power of resilience and the critical role of support systems.

In Lamont’s words: “I have immense gratitude for CP, not just for what they have done for me, but for what they represent and all they do for the community. They exemplify how a small organization can make a massive impact. I also want to acknowledge Director Pollard for his leadership. He is not only an excellent director but also a wonderful mentor and friend. My life philosophy is simple: ‘Be who you’re meant to be, do what you’re meant to do, and you’ll have what you’re meant to have.’”


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