Former inmates open their own gym: ‘This is our safe space’

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FORT WORTH, Texas (KTVT) — April is Second Chance Month, recognizing the thousands of Americans being released from prisons and jails each day.

“The streets consumed me, selling drugs consumed me,” said Brandon Reed, “I believe everyone in the world should get second, third, fourth, fifth chances.”

In 2011, Reed was just one of the more than 1,600 Americans released from prison each day.

He knew he wanted to start his own gym, but Reed struggled to find a job to meet his supervised release requirements.

“The Marshalls even threatened to send me back to jail,” he said.

But Reed got his second chance with a job at Goodwill, then split his time to start his gym, The Train Station.

“This is my dream world this my fantasy world. I could be facing the biggest storm outside these doors, but when they look at me for leadership,” he said.

Reed and his partner, Trent Rose, are both on their second or even third chances.

“We came out of prison and this is our safe space,” said Rose, “I was a drug dealer at the time when crack-cocaine was at an all-time high.”

Despite being a business owner and coaching people to their fitness goals, Reed still feel the stigma of being formerly incarcerated.

“Even though I’ve been out of prison 13 years now, I still face barriers, I still lack confidence in certain areas of my life,” he said, “If I got that monkey on my back, I can only imagine what other people have on their back.”

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, about 20% of people released from prison will return in Texas, which is lower than the nation rates near 50%. For those who get and keep jobs, that number drops to about 16%.

“You make a bad choice, we can show a little forgiveness and allow them to reacclimate themselves into society,” said Reed.

“We all make mistakes. You make a mistake, you correct yourself and you keep moving forward,” said Reed.

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