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Gray was paroled to a halfway house in August 2008 and now lives with his mom in Prince George’s County. Even after release, he says, he had to have a plan because prison doesn’t “prepare you for freedom.”

“I asked questions,” Gray says, and self-preparation is critical.

He needed a birth certificate. Social Security card. Identification card.

Prison didn’t prepare him for cultural changes, either.

Gray, who recently marked his first anniversary of freedom, says the District, the city in which he was born and raised, has changed a lot. He’s still learning how to use public transportation, and he doesn’t like the new “dress code.”

“I’m not used to guys hanging around with their pants hanging off,” Gray says.

A fan of the Washington Redskins, Gray says he recently attended a Mystics game. “I love it. Women playing pro basketball,” he says.

But his voice trails off and he returns to what he calls his mission - focusing on and achieving his goals.

“No backsliding.”

“Maintaining” Christianity.

Staying family-oriented.

Staying employed.

Mentoring other ex-felons.

Jubilee Jobs, a nonprofit, aids Gray in all those aspects.

He got a job with a construction company a few weeks after Jubilee orientation and counseling, and he wants to return the favor.

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