Grateful for his second chance in life, Chris Wilson, who served 16 years in prison, returned to Anne Arundel Community College on Monday to share his story of redemption and the power of education.
Wilson addressed students and faculty at Anne Arundel Community College’s Robert E. Kauffman Theater about his life’s journey, which wound through tough streets and prison to eventually becoming a business executive and author.
At the age of 17, Wilson was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man.
“I felt like my life was over after being sentenced to life,” Wilson said. “I knew in my heart I was a good person, that I was smart, but I never really applied myself. That’s when I came up with the master plan, which was essentially a plan to educate myself. To get out of prison, be a productive person and start a business.”
He grew up around drugs and violence in D.C.’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood and in Temple Hills, Maryland, and had spent nearly half his life behind bars when a judge allowed for his resentencing.
“Anne Arundel Community College, the professors, changed my life.” Wilson said, “They came into prison and really pushed me and allowed me to understand the power of education.”
Wilson’s book “The Master Plan: My Journey From Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose,” emphasizes education as a key factor in achieving success in life.
“I want people to understand the power of education and what it can do. It’s changed my life and it’s allowed me to change other people’s lives,” Wilson said.
Wilson has added his voice to those speaking out in favor of criminal justice reform and providing violent juvenile offenders like himself a second chance.
“They should be punished, yes, but when they go away there should be therapy, there should be some educational opportunities so they can have the chance to come back into society and be a productive citizen,” Wilson said.