James Anderson: Prison Inmate to a Passionate Advocate

MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
August 21st, 2014
Posted In: The Mentoring Effect

August 2014

James Anderson spent five years in and out of the California prison system before the age of 20. In his own words, he says, “I felt so worthless that I believed that’s where I belonged. I was that kid that you pointed at and said ‘forget about him. He’s hopeless. He’s never going to change.’ Yet one person came into my life and helped me realize I was worth something.” That person became his mentor.

The United States leads the industrialized world in the rate at which young people are incarcerated. The system is costly to operate, puts youth at risk for injury and abuse and has been proven ineffective at reducing recidivism. Mentoring has the potential to interrupt the cycle of imprisonment, as it did for James Anderson. Ultimately, communities are safer when young adults like James change the course of their lives and mature into productive citizens. Watch James tell his story and read more in a Q&A with James in which he reflects further on the role of mentoring.

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