In 2010, reformed drug dealer Thomas Cotton created the faith-based nonprofit Redemption and Advancement Alliance to encourage men and women to lead healthy, constructive lives free of crime and negativity.
Cotton spent 6 1/2 years in prison and understands firsthand the external factors and challenges some face trying to live a life on the right side of the law. Using that experience, he created a process that walks the individual through personal reformation. Under the guidance of Redemption, individuals identify destructive behavior patterns, find employment and learn to give back to their community through a series of stages.
"[I was] able to see what it's like to transition out of prison into normal life again, all the barriers that prevent people from really being able to engage life," Cotton said. "And as I began to navigate through those barriers, I began to see a pattern of how to help other people be successful in their transitions [out of prison] and those who are coming from challenged backgrounds."