Graduate Spotlight: John Carter

Describe the journey that brought you to TPOM.

I spent 24 years at Northeast Correctional Complex. For many years, I was basically managing the flooring manufacturing unit. I knew Marshall [Danby] and Tim [Hall] during my time there. But I was advised that Riverbend was the place I could get the best help with parole and I came there.


Did you have any concerns when you got here?

I took the attitude that if I could do 42 years in there, this will be a piece of cake. I did what I needed to do in the program. From the beginning, I wanted to explore and have an adventure every day. One day I walked to Walmart and spotted a Wendy’s. I did okay until the guy gave me an empty cup and pointed to the drink machine. I managed to get the ice, but I couldn’t get a drink until an 8-year-old showed me how!


Tell us about your spiritual journey over the years.

At first, I didn’t care about getting into trouble. I never expected to get out. I’d get into trouble and do 90-day stretches in solitary. But finally, I decided I wanted to change. I started going to church, reading my Bible. I wasn’t a saint, but I tried to live under those biblical principles while inside. It’s what I believed and that’s how I carried myself. I also started on my GED, got an Associate Degree from Dyersburg State, then a B.A. from UT-Martin. I’m three classes short of a Master’s from Liberty University.


How did TPOM help?

TPOM gave me a place to land when I got out. I had nobody and no place. The program gives us good support as we get started.


What are you doing now after graduation?

I got my CDL and may do some cross-country driving in the future. Right now I’m driving a dump truck for a good company, working up to 70 hours, and making good money. For housing, I bought a used RV and have a hook-up on a farm in Sumner County. In the evening, I can sit and watch the horses graze.


What advice do you have for others who might be thinking about reentry?

TPOM is a good program. If you use the resources they give you, you can find success. You will get out of it what you put into it.

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