As of 2016 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the United States. These numbers are continuing to grow each year as our prison system has a revolving door of individuals that aren’t being properly rehabilitated, given the proper job skills or education to get by in life, the demands of the reentry process can be difficult to follow all its requirements. People give up and go back to their old ways, and back to prison.
How do we change this?
By advocating for the incarcerated, by educating our communities and showing compassion and encouragement for those that need help finding the right path.
Former inmate, known as Marcus “Big Herc” Timmons and his partner Anthony M. are doing that and more. They are keeping it real, showing what people have to deal with after they are released and branded a felon.
Big Herc and Anthony created a series called Fresh Out: Life after the Penitentiary. This YouTube series boasts over a half million subscribers viewing his content, seeing that a couple formerly incarcerated men can bring a positive presence and message in our society, as well as plenty of education.
His content is raw, compelling and deep. Their years of experience in the prison system offer invaluable advice to others going through the same situation and inspire youth to stay out of the system.
Their mission as stated on their website is: “To educate the public, at-risk youth, and friends and family of incarcerated men and women about the brutal realities of prison life, and to strip away the inaccuracies, downright falsehoods, and even glamor associated with it in the media and on the streets.”
Marcus Timmons has come a long way in life. After spending 9 years in prison he went through a transformation that has caused him to thrive after his release. Not only his YouTube show, Fresh Out: Life after the Penitentiary and other entertaining spin off series, he is also an entrepreneur who has started many businesses, motivational speaker, author, executive coach and mentor.
So how did Marcus go from a life of crime to educating and inspiring others to choose a positive path in life?
As a young teen he grew up on a military base. Skateboarding was a passion of his becoming deeply involved with the skater scene. Later he had to move off the base to Sacramento, CA.
Now surrounded by young men with other interests. He gave up skating and got caught up in the drug dealing lifestyle. At 15 he was selling crack, enamored by the quick money and the girls it attracted. With no positive role model in his life he was surrounded by hustlers, street dudes and dealers.
Soon he was in a young adult detention center and surrounded by peers that were making the same mistakes, perpetuating his lifestyle and giving no cause to change.
While there he met a friend who introduced him to his next career choice. An adult film star.
He did this for a while but wasn’t satisfied with the money he was making, Not enough in this to consider it a career he chose to go back to college to get his degree.
He moved back in with his mom, things were going well for a time. Only 3 credits away from graduation he fell back into the wrong crowd and started dealing marijuana. He moved back to Sacramento, instead of graduating college he graduated to selling harder drugs again becoming immersed in the thug lifestyle.
The drug game got tiring, he left Sacramento with his girlfriend, moving to Los Angeles.
In LA Marcus reignited his adult film career. This time around he was far more successful, traveling around the world. They lived comfortably, affording a nice home and life for him and his girlfriend. He was trying to make something of himself, even auditioning for a commercial. Unfortunately he wasn’t available when he got a call back for the commercial.
Marcus still had the same hustling mentality, growing up the way he did it was all he knew. So, when he was approached by a friend to rob a bank, he thought to himself of other crimes he had gotten away with in his past and agreed to help.
The robbery didn’t go off as planned, him and the others involved were arrested and sent to prison where he spent the next nine years.
Those years were not taken for granted, he used them to educate himself, learning the law to the point he was able to shave 2 years off his sentence. He accepted responsibility for the actions that led him to prison, not the robbery, but the actions that led him to be involved in it.
He started to see light and find focus on what his purpose was. He faced hardship with his peers in prison who didn’t support him bettering himself. No longer tolerating ignorance, he was mindful of who he surrounded himself by and began to attract people that were more in his mindset.
He thought about the reasons why he got into this lifestyle, why he thought and acted the way he did that led him to prison. After much self-reflecting he reversed that way of thinking so he could find a better way to live life.
While still incarcerated he began planning his Fresh Out series, wanting to showcase people who have done time and chose a better path.
Fresh Out: Life in the Penitentiary had a slow start but is now a successful and a full-time gig for Marcus. His channel offers a lot more than inspiring content and merchandise, he is truly making a difference in others’ lives. Receiving mail from people thanking him for inspiring them to change, get clean, and stay out of the system.
Marcus plans for Fresh Out doesn’t stop at YouTube. He wants to take the series globally. He would love to see it on a major network like Netflix or Hulu so he can continue to inspire, educate and help others. He knows he can make a difference in this world, and he won’t stop until he does.