That Elusive Second Chance

Redemption Inc. is a new TV reality series that provides a chance-of-a-lifetime experience for former “guests” of Canadian correctional facilities – certainly controversial, perhaps disconcerting to some parts of the viewing audience. But these competitors have paid their debt to society and deserve a second chance.

Each of the eight episodes will test ten ex-cons’ business acumen by placing them into real-world scenarios to demonstrate their sales, marketing, and teamwork skills. These are individuals who have served time for various offences, except violent crimes and crimes against children. At the end of nine weeks, one candidate deemed most likely to succeed will get $100,000 to start a business, a prize that comes from the host’s own pocket.

This new twist on the reality shows currently available on television is based on the theme of giving ex-convicts a second chance. Self-made multimillionaire and TV personality Kevin O’Leary’s Redemption Inc. puts ten ex-convicts through a series of weekly entrepreneurial challenges to see who most deserves a $100,000 investment in their dream business. The show is based on the premise that “every criminal is a businessman,” for example, a successful drug dealer is also a logistics expert, great in sales, marketing, inventory control. This type of person can apply those talents to something legal.

Ex-cons face an uphill battle when they return to society. Challenged to find employment, arrange a loan, get a credit card, find accommodation, they are often not able to support themselves or their families and many find themselves back in prison. Since it costs a quarter of a million dollars a year to keep a person in prison, it makes sense to help ex-offenders to move forward.

With O’Leary as host, ex-con-turned-businessman Brian O’Dea assists as key advisor and constant inspiration to competitors. O’Dea is a convicted smuggler who has since gone on to become an author, businessman, and public speaker. O’Dea mentors the contestants during the segments. Their rehabilitation begins with working as labourers at a shop specializing in detailing luxury cars. Their efforts, compared to the average employee, have earned the full respect of the shop owner. When an ex-con is given a second chance like this, he is not like a regular employee – he strives to stay visible.

If you have a criminal record, it will thwart your efforts to get that second chance. To prevent it from getting in your way, you should obtain a pardon, which will remove your record from the Canadian Police Information Centre’s database so that it is no longer accessible during criminal record checks. A pardon, also known as a record suspension, will allow you to make a new start. Contact a Client Specialist at Pardon Services Canada to assist you.

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