Since 2017, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Prison Fellowship, and other national partners have recognized April as Second Chance Month, a time to raise awareness about the obstacles faced by over 70 million Americans with criminal records and unlock opportunities for them to succeed.
A firm believer in second chances, John McLaughlin spent his professional life transforming a fledgling start up into a multi-million dollar business, and after years of hard work, he was inspired to pay it forward. His desire to mentor and teach others would lead him on a remarkable journey through the doors of a minimum-security prison. “In my fifties and with no teaching experience, my only job offer was at a minimum-security prison,” McLaughlin said. “And I gladly accepted the challenge.”
In Lifeline to a Soul, McLaughlin relates the trials and triumphs of being a first-time teacher in a minimum-security prison. Offering unique insight into the inner workings of the American prison system, McLaughlin encountered systemic racism and class discrimination and exposes missed opportunities. “By design, prisons dehumanize their denizens,” McLaughlin said. “And there is no effective system in place to educate people with potential.” When a scandal among prison officials upended John’s teaching career, he was compelled to share his experience. Seeking to change reader’s perspectives, he hopes the book serves as a rallying cry for prison reform. “Throughout my time there, I found myself identifying more with my students and less with the administration and correctional officers,” McLaughlin said. “And I want to advocate for change while continuing to help people who have made mistakes to get back on their feet and become contributing members of society.”
Recent winner of the Literary Titan Book Award, Lifeline to a Soul is available for purchase online at Amazon.com. For more information about the book, the author, and his teaching program, please visit lifelinetoasoul.com.
About the Author
John McLaughlin is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Lifeline Education Connection. Having bootstrapped his start-up business into a multi-million dollar industry leader, he gives back through teaching entrepreneurship. He holds an MBA, a teaching certificate, and a marketing management certificate from Harvard Extension University. When not writing or teaching, he enjoys riding a tandem bicycle with his wife Reba on the greenways of Charlotte, North Carolina where they live with two extremely spoiled cats, Moe and Joe.
Lifeline to a Soul is a crisply written heartwarming account of what it is like to step into prison with big ideas but little preparation about the workings of the system. McLaughlin gives the reader a seat in the classroom as he provides practical skills and inspiration to men who may want to start their own businesses. Many lives were changed during his brief stint as a prison teacher - including his own.
Deborah Tobola, author of Hummingbird in Underworld: Teaching in a Men's Prison
"Just as the title of Chapter Seven states, Learning to Teach is what happened to John when he began leading a class on entrepreneurship for inmates. In letting go of expectations and learning from each moment presented, John was able to teach valuable skills to many individuals who have otherwise been dismissed and overlooked by society."
Vita Pires, Ph.D., Executive Director Prison Mindfulness Institute
McLaughlin has a unique story to tell, and fortunately, is a talented writer, able to put it on paper as a riveting memoir. McLaughlin, through is own experiences and writings, successfully illustrates how opportunities and education, made available better late than not at all, can turn lives around.
Toby Berry, The US Review of Books
Overall, Lifeline to a Soul is a refreshing departure from typical entrepreneurial books, offering a unique perspective on life and success. It is a must-read for anyone looking for inspiration and encouragement, regardless of their personal or professional circumstances.
Thomas Anderson, Editor in Chief Literary Titan
Lifeline to a Soul is a must-read as there is a lesson in it for everyone.
Essien Asian, Readers' Favorite Book Reviews
After building a successful company, teaching was in John's heart. It was something he always wanted to do. Now in his fifties with no experience in the field, he was starting the adventure in the twilight of his life.
Read along with John's experience and discover your next favorite autobiography.
The Book Review Directory
With great pleasure, I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. The reason for the perfect rating is that there are loads of lessons to learn from this inspirational book.
Nadia Jones, Online Book Club