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Ex-con talks about turning around his life - abc27 WHTM

Ex-con talks about turning around his life

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LYKENS, Pa. (WHTM) -

Hank Anderson is a prime example that once a criminal is not always a criminal. He did some hard time -- and then turned his life around.

"We ended up getting 5 to 20 on armed robbery, kidnapping, assault with attempt to kill," he said.

Anderson served five years. He said the hardest part was lying awake at night thinking about what he was missing.

"You are temporarily dead as far as the outside world is concerned," he said. "You can't help your family."

But he says life outside afterward isn't easy either, especially if you decide you're going to turn your life around.

"You have a parole officer invading your privacy, invading the privacy of your family. You have employers who don't want to hire you. You have people around you that really don't want to associate with you," he said.

Anderson said parolees have to accept that and get past it. If you steal money, you're not going to be able to work at a bank or with money.

"You can do landscaping. You can do construction work. You can work in a restaurant. You can own the restaurant," he said.

Anderson said if you work your way back, your past can fade away.

"You're out five years, that parole agent isn't paying attention to you as much. You're out 10 years, most businesses aren't paying attention to that record. You gotta earn your way back," he said.

And the employers and friends who once shunned you will find it easier to accept you.

"They all remember what you did. They never forget," he said. "But they'll start laughing about it. When they start laughing about it, you'll know it's forgotten."

But Anderson said turning a life around all starts with making a commitment.

"If you don't decide deep inside that that's what you really want, it will never happen," he said.

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