Jim's Quotes

Jim Cotterill co-founded 2nd Chance Indiana (as UNITE INDY) in late 2016. After a decade as the founding president of National Christian Foundation Indiana following several years developing a chain of Business Journals across the country, he and his wife, Nancy, were led to serve those coming out of long term incarceration by helping them find and keep jobs that pay a living wage. Jim and Nancy believe that, through the dignity of work, reentrants' lives can be changed and their families can be lifted out of poverty.

"Easter isn't about colored eggs and bunnies for people in prison…"
—Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship

"The link between academic failure, violence, and crime 
is welded to reading failure" --The Department of Justice 

Studies show that 66% of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Like so many things in life, one event, one experience that happened or didn't, can change a life. When learning to read well didn't happen, that life is at risk.

"Prisons are woefully ill-equipped for their current role as the nation's primary mental health facilities." —Jamie Fellner

Jamie Fellner is senior counsel for the United States Program of Human Rights Watch, which often deals with issues of the maltreatment of prisoners in the U.S.These are generally episodes against an incarcerated individual in a singular situation. But today with U.S. prisons and jails overflowing with a growing population of people with mental illness...

"I got 16 years to life." —Pastor Jeff Osborne

Jeff Osborn is a pastor who talks candidly about surviving prison and turning his life around. He was a kid, an army brat in a loving family who went to church, believed in God, and was brought up to come under authority. But one day, when he was about 11, "Some men came to our house and told us we had two hours to get out...

31 DEC, 2021

He who opens a school door, closes a prison."—Victor HugoFrench writer Victor Hugo wrote about the atrocities of prison in the early 1800s. His seminal work, Les Miserables, is a story of the horrific conditions in the prisons of his day and the life of a man who was never quite free from the specter of incarceration. More than 150 years ago, Hugo clearly saw the link between incarceration and education—a link that is as true now as it was in 1862. The fact is that 85 percent of all juveniles who come into contact with the court system today are functionally illiterate. School dropouts are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested than high school graduates. Nationally, 68 percent of all males in prison do not have a high school diploma. In a world where half the human race is bi-lingual, we are not even making sure all our students can read and write in our own language. Of course they drop out of school. It seems obvious that rather than s...

30 NOV, 2021

Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will"—Anonymous Fear is the very basis of everything that holds us back from our true destiny. For a person who is reentering society after incarceration, it can be traumatic to even think about living on the outside. Inmates become "institutionalized," by living in a system that makes every decision for them. Often they are more frightened of living without rules than living forever in a cell.They worry: How will I eat, where will I live? Will I be able to get a job? As crazy as it may sound, many will reoffend just to go back to a place they consider to be "safe." Fear is the jet fuel behind the high recidivism rate.It was Jesus who reminded his followers to "Remember Lot's wife," who looked back at her burning home and turned into a pillar of salt. She was frozen in the past. Institutionalized prisoners are frozen in the past too. Unable to move into the life that is dawning in front of them. ...

30 SEP, 2021

If you carry the bricks from your past, you will end up building the same house."—AnonymousFor many of the people coming out of long term incarceration, there is no blueprint to follow with which to build a better life. A majority of reentrants carry with them scars of a difficult youth. They have witnessed violence many times as they grew up, and there was often no one in the family who worked and supported them at a level that would allow them to focus on school work or provide standards of behavior and a loving home. When none of that ever happens, the normalcy of life is all but impossible to embrace.The bricks of their lives are bricks of want and dissatisfaction, of anger and disappointment, of little faith in themselves and others. These bricks were fired in the heat of a prison sentence, and just because they have been released, doesn't mean they have a working plan with which to build a new life.Unless we provide the solid mate...

31 MAR, 2021

A few months ago I was hopeless, sitting in my cell, thinking how I'd wasted the last 33 years.Now every time I turn around there are these men telling me Jesus loves me, and He's got a plan for my life…"—Name withheldThere's no guarantee that a prison or jail sentence will produce a person who is ready to turn his life around. But for many, the need to become a productive working member of society is like a mustard seed planted in fertile ground.In prison, their dissatisfaction is deep. They long to have another chance at a normal life, but fear they will fail. But the dream of normalcy, of family, of children who are proud of them grows. These are the people we are working with through Jobs for Life.With a recidivism rate of more than 40 percent, and a cost to taxpayers estimated at more than $20,000 to incarcerate one person in Indiana for one year, it makes business sense to rehabilitate people and keep them from returning to prison...

26 FEB, 2021

I'll do whatever you need."—Doug EvansTo all those working in the mission field, a statement like Doug's is a dream come true. An unqualified sentence like that is so rarely heard, when he said it, it stopped me in my tracks. For a split second I had to pause as I considered the gift he could be to our work at UNITE INDY.Doug is retired. For more than 40 years he worked as a teacher inside prisons as an employee of the Indiana Department of Correction. With our work to help reentrants find employment, reconnect positively with family, and reduce recidivism, his experience is more valuable than gold. He knows how to relate to incarcerated people. He knows the program. He knows the possibilities and recognizes limitations, and although he loved working with these men, he always felt something important was missing…something we could provide.In his years teaching as an employee of the State, he always felt the need to bring a faith perspec...

29 MAY, 2020

Be yourself. Everyone else is ?already taken."-Oscar WildeIn 1854, during the Victorian era, Oscar Wilde was born into an educated family in Dublin. Highly intelligent, he spoke English, French and Greek. He was an artist, poet, playwrite, and a famous wit. But Wilde was also gay. When the father of Wilde's partner had him charged with gross indecency, Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labor in the Galway prison where he suffered miserably from dysentery and malnutrition. Still a young man, he died soon after he was released.We are each as unique as the flowers of the field. We grow from differing seeds and survive the weather of our lives in different ways. We are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, gay, straight, tall, short, thin, and fat. Some of us have had great childhoods, others not so much. Our religious practices are different, as are our understandings of the Great I Am. But at the end of the day, we are all His. No one is les...

Recent Posts


Contact Information

2nd Chance Indiana
241 West 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208


Our Mission

Our mission is to reduce recidivism and rebuild lives through the dignity of work.