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Former Tennessee inmate returns to jail to inspire current prisoners

By: Claire Kopsky

Nov 04, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) hosted a former TDOC inmate to speak and motivate current inmates at Deberry Special Needs Facility Tuesday, emphasizing the department's need for volunteers.

"It's not just a job it's really like a passion like for real like I'm doing this like I'm with this and I'm loving it," explained Platinum Recording Artist and Former Inmate Patrick Houston.

Houston served time at a TDOC prison and when he got out, he started a new path.

"I went to jail, I went twice," said Houston, "[Now,] I rap and I am a Christian."

He uses both of those perspectives when he speaks to inmates at jails across the U.S.

Platinum Recording Artist and Former Inmate Patrick Houston - Claire Kopsky

"The people in prison they have time. They doing a lot of thinking, you know what I'm saying?" said Houston. "So Lord has told me like, ‘Man, you go on there, bring them books, they got time to read em.’ Because when I was there I read em and it helped me—it did. It helped me tremendously."

He brings them books about Christianity to read once they leave his presentation.

"You hand them a book. Are they gonna read it for real? They're gonna read it for real! Because, you see, they got time. And they know theirselves, they got time to reflect on life," explained Houston.

Current TDOC Inmate Kendrick Perry who has served five years is set to be released in December.

"It's always inspiring to somebody to take the time out to come in and speak. It's definitely inspiring," Perry explained. "You can relate to people and they have a testimony and in that makes it kind of kind of gets everybody's attention."

Perry admits that he needed a change and over the course of his time in prison, the speakers who he has heard really made a difference.

"I'm growing everyday. I mean, I'm not perfect. You know what I'm saying?" said Perry. "And I'm just praying for change and, and I'm gonna give it my all this time. I'm not going back to the streets. I'm going out and I'm gonna try something different."

For different opportunities to volunteer at TDOC across the state, look for opportunities on their website.

The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) hosts a former TDOC inmate to speak and motivate current inmates. - Claire Kopsky