Comebacker #1 – Remel Barbee

Comebacker #1 – Remel Barbee

Each week The Comeback Collective publishes our weekly “Spotlight” article covering someone’s experience with incarceration and where they are at today. Theses articles consist of 5 questions. We hope to humanize formerly incarcerated individuals while also giving those hope and building community.

Meet Remel Barbee (24).

Where are you from and what was your young life like?
I am from the Metro Detroit area (Warren, MI). I grew up in an environment where most of the time I did not have that much support for my decisions which made me become closed off and a lot of rebellion and spitefulness took over. Sports was my release and I stayed involved as much as possible to avoid going home a lot because there was so much tension and arguing I couldn’t handle it.

How did you end up incarcerated? Where did you do your time and for how long?
I ended up incarcerated at nineteen years old at Oakland County Jail (Pontiac, MI) for about 193 days give or take. One night I over heard my parents talking and it got heated over some money issues, how I moved back in because of football ending and my grades slipped so I took the semester off. It was a lot for me and very depressing. I decided to rob my job and use whatever I could find, pawn it and just go live my life. However, once I broke in reality kicked in and about the time I decided to not go through with it Troy police was already there, Oakland County Sheriffs and Sterling heights. It wasn’t a good look especially being an African American in a predominantly Caucasian area.

How long have you been out and what are your goals?
I was sentenced to Jail time 193 plus two years probation which I completed in January 2016. So I’ve been focusing on the positive for about two years now. Within those two years I have sealed my record and became a firefighter while also developing my business brand which is training athletes and recruiting to make sure that they obtain a solid education. My business is still growing and I attract a lot of inner city youth because I can relate to them.

What are you doing to bring those goals to life?
Bringing those goals to life was not easy because a lot of people turned me down due to my felony. It’s hard to convince people of my goals but I keep pressing forward. I am making sure that my overall goal of owning a facility is still alive and my business brand takes over the Midwest quickly. In order to do that, I have to keep developing myself in my education, developing myself and reaching out to those who are not only like myself but have a solid foundation in this business.

Any advice for others going through it?
I can tell you so much detail that has led me to where I am now. One honest thing I would ask you is how do you envision yourself in five years? Seven? Ten? Do you see yourself in the same environment you are in or a well polished individual? We all make mistakes and no one is perfect. I know people who are judges, doctors and government officials who have committed crimes but they changed their lives around as so can you. I encourage you to surround yourself with people who are going to make you grow as a person because those are the ones who have your best interest. They are the ones that make sure you won’t fall behind again. You have to make the choice and tell yourself “I’m tired of embarrassing myself, I’m tired of embarrassing my family” and get yourself on the track and know its not the end. A set back is a set up for a come back.

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