West Louisville company giving convicted felons a second chance - WDRB 41 Louisville News

West Louisville company giving convicted felons a second chance

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- While most of us are sleeping at night, some convicted felons will be hitting the streets. They've transitioned from committing crimes to punching a clock.

The men are working for a west Louisville company using secondhand furniture to give convicted felons a second chance.

"I had robberies. I had auto thefts," said Mark Hall, one of the workers.

From violence to drugs, Hall admits he was part of the problem for years. He ended up serving five years in prison.

And even after being released from prison, Hall was dangerously close to becoming a repeat offender because no one is hiring convicted felons.

"(Most of the time), it feel like I gotta go back and hustle out on the street to try to get a loaf of bread," he said.

But instead of hitting the streets, he's now one of a few dozen convicted felons working for Middle Tennessee Urban Construction on 15th Street in west Louisville.

The minority-owned company, which refurbishes and resells hotel furniture. reached out to Minister Jerald Muhammad with Brothers Helping Brothers to find workers.

"These men are unloading trucks, second shift, third shift," Muhammad said. "They're here early in the morning."

This is part of the response after to a record number of murders in Louisville in 2016.

"We called an emergency community meeting in December, and we wanted to hear from the people," Muhammad said.

During that meeting, neighbors helped draft an action plan. At the top of the list was job training.

Muhammad knows it won't stop all of the violence, but he believes it's a start.

"If we can just save one person, save one life, we feel like that our efforts have been a success," he said.

Langston Gaither, the executive director of St. Stephen Family Life Center, said the new company is a win-win for west Louisville because of the jobs and wholesale goods.

"I was glad that a friend reached out to me yesterday morning and told me about this treasure over here," he said. "We bought eight flat-scree TVs, 50 chairs for the restaurant that we have."

From secondhand to second shift, it's giving Hall an important second chance.

"I'm making the best of the second chance I can," he said.

The company is from Tennessee, but the goal is for the move and jobs to become permanent.

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