Employment at Michles & Booth Changes Lives and Provides Independence
“America is the land of the second chance – and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.” President George W. Bush
They became an international news story in 2011 when they were released from a Mississippi prison after their sentences were suspended by Gov. Haley Barbour. Even with the passage of time, Gladys and Jamie Scott still hear the snide comments, like “You know they’re convicts.” For many, the Scott sisters have been written off by society. Gladys and Jamie have a storied history, and they will not deny that they have criminal records. But because they served time in a correctional institution, why does society write them off as not being equal anymore? Why is a stigma still attached to those who have served their time?
After serving 16 years and upon their release, the Scotts moved to Pensacola to be with family and re-establish their lives. As with any relocation, the ladies were focused on getting reconnected with their children, finding a new church and looking for work. They received a second chance at life and were going to use it to the fullest by becoming independent and productive citizens.
Soon after they relocated, Gladys and Jamie joined the Greater Little Rock Baptist Church and became friends with Pastor Lonnie D. Wesley III. As part of a coalition to help the ladies with successful assimilation back into society, Greater Little Rock Baptist Church welcomed the chance to serve the sisters in whatever capacity was needed. During the last two years, Wesley has become a significant influence and mentor to Gladys and Jamie.
“When we moved to Pensacola, we were excited to restart our lives and were very hopeful about opportunities,” said Gladys. “Meeting Pastor Wesley added to our hope for starting over.”
Sadly, society did not have the same optimistic view point. With convicted felon listed on employment forms, the sisters soon realized how hard it was going to be to start any sort of new life. “We were honest on every employment application,” said Gladys.
After being employed in a few short-term labor jobs, Pastor Wesley recommended the sisters contact Michles & Booth because the firm was considering a new employment initiative. “Our firm is dedicated to our communities along the Gulf Coast and that means so much more to us than just participating in a charity drive or writing an annual fundraising check. We are actively involved in our community, and when Pastor Wesley mentioned the benefits of teaming with the Lakeview Center Program, I began the process for our firm to become a new partner and vendor working to hire and train local community members,” explained Marcus Michles II, founding partner and principal attorney.
Both ladies were interviewed by Cindy Ward, the firm’s administrator, and shortly thereafter they started the vocational services program at Lakeview Center. The sisters completed 90 days of the Lakeview Center program and another 90 days of on-the-job training. The Scotts are now full-time permanent employees of the firm serving as couriers.
“Mr. Michles believes in second chances, and we are treated just like any other employee regardless of our past,” said Jamie. “We are so proud to work for this firm; they treat their clients like family and that is exactly how they treat their employees. When our mother passed away in August, we received overwhelming support from our work family.”
Gladys agrees, “Mr. Michles and this entire firm have helped build our confidence and feelings of self-worth. It makes us feel good to get a paycheck knowing that we deserve it for our work. Also, we know we won’t receive any special treatment; if we make a mistake, we are corrected just like any other employee.”
The sentiments about the sisters working at the firm also reflect on their hardworking attitudes. “Gladys and Jamie are extremely positive and optimistic, and it is a joy to work with them because their approaches to life are encouraging and uplifting,” explained Ward.
In addition to feedback from the firm about their work skills, the sisters meet with their Lakeview Center counselor on a regular basis. Both sisters are incredibly appreciative of the Lakeview Center program stating, “The program is awesome and the counselors are very responsive to all of our questions.”
Just as it takes a village to raise a child, the actions of an entire community have helped the Scott sisters establish a new life. From the job training vocational services at Lakeview to the trust of employment at Michles & Booth, Gladys and Jamie have received the support and care needed to start over. Wesley more than sums up the sisters acknowledging a second chance in life: “Both Jamie and Gladys have at the forefront of their minds that since others have blessed them, they are obligated to bless someone else.” Continue to pay it forward ladies.
Update on Jamie Scott’s Health: Jamie receives dialysis three times a week. To prepare for a kidney transplant, Jamie lost a significant amount of weight causing sagging skin. She is working with her medical team discussing options for body contouring surgery but insurance currently will not cover the procedure. Her medical team has determined that she cannot have the kidney transplant until the sagging skin is removed. Gladys is still wanting and willing to be the kidney donor.
Note: Michles & Booth has not represented Gladys or Jamie Scott in any of their legal proceedings.
About Michles & Booth
Established in 2001, Michles & Booth specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation and social security disability. With three offices along the Gulf Coast of Florida, the staff of 12 dedicated attorneys and numerous paralegals utilize state-of-the-art technology and cost-effective methods to provide services in a timely, client-oriented matter. To help minimize costs to clients, the firm employs a full-time investigator, a comprehensive IT department, and a medical doctor which allows for complete fundamental services within one organization. Michles & Booth was founded on our respect for our clients first and foremost and a dedication to our community through service.