Former Windham student becomes successful electrician
TDCJ's offender newspaper, The ECHO, had the opportunity to interview ex-offender Garrett Stanley, who tells a wonderful story of success in life after incarceration. His story documents hard work, motivation and a desire to do well in life.
ECHO: Describe your life before prison.
GS: I did time in the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) from the ages of 14 to 16. I received my GED there at TYC. By the time I was 17 years old I was into drinking and drugs and in TDCJ on a 17-year sentence.
ECHO: Describe your prison educational experience.
GS: I did 12 years on a 17 year sentence from 1994-2006. I was on Luther, Torres and Hughes units during that time.
I attended and completed the electrical trades classes offered by the Windham School District (WSD). I was able to work for the unit maintenance department as an electrician for four years where I obtained invaluable experience on a day-to-day basis at work. I also volunteered and worked as a teacher's aide in the electrical trades classes for one and one-half years.
ECHO: Do you have any special comments about the WSD instructors you had for the courses?
GS: They were all great. They showed patience and kindness. They were very helpful. They taught us even when some of us were unteachable.
ECHO: Describe your life after release in 2006.
GS: At that time, I was assisted by Project RIO. I bought tools. I saw an advertisement in the newspaper, place by an electrical union. I answered the ad. They gave me a skills evaluation test and I scored very well due to the WSD classes and my experience at the Luther Unit. I have now been working for the same contractor for seven years.
ECHO: Describe your current position.
GS: I am a journey man electrician working at commercial and industrial sites, including power plants and water treatment plants.
ECHO: Explain how you think WSD made an impact on your life after TDCJ.
GS: I now have a good job and a good career due to the classes and skills learned through the WSD Electrical Trades program. I give all the credit to WSD such that I can make an honest living. I am a citizen of society, pay taxes and no one can take these things from me.
ECHO: What would be your advice to current offenders?
GS: Educate yourself for your future. Take advantage of every avenue of education available for you. Be hungry for knowledge. Dedicate your time toward an education and skills that can provide a career once released.
Reprinted from The ECHO.
Other Success Stories that may interest you:
WSD Success Story: Safety manager, former offender returns to prison to encourage job-readiness - "I have been out of prison for five years, and it makes it a very emotional day to come back: the sights, the smells and the tattoos," Johnathan Granados tells offenders during his visit to a Texas prison facility. Granados was invited to share information about his experience and employment preparation at a Windham School District (WSD) Career Expo. Since his release, Granados has been working with Yantis, a San Antonio construction and land company, and he is one of several businessmen and women participating in a Career Expo at Dominguez State Jail.
NEW - Education taught me... - "Education taught me how to think and analyze problems, which helps me daily in my current employment."
NEW - We can learn and be successful - "My life is proof that we can learn and be successful and stay out of trouble."
Polunsky Unit Success Story - "He [Mr. Leblanc] taught me things that even the guys rebuilding transmissions for many years didn't know."
Role Model - Success Story - "I talk to them about how important education is and how hard I'm trying to prove that to them."