Toby Dorr
Episode 28

Episode 28

Toby Dorr: Hi, everyone, and welcome to Fierce Conversations with Toby, the show where we discover the silver lining in life’s most difficult stories. I’m your host, Toby Dorr.

Toby Dorr: In today’s episode, we’re going to learn what it means to say that I am enough.

Toby Dorr: Our guest today is Tanane Jenkins, who helps returning citizens embrace their past and become everything they are, flaws and all. Welcome Tanane, it’s so great to have you here.

Tanaine Jenkins: It is awesome to be here, Toby. How are you today?

Toby Dorr: I’m excellent, you know, LinkedIn is a great place, I find so many interesting people there and I’m so glad that you agreed to do our podcast because I think you have a message that’s important to get out there into the world.

Tanaine Jenkins: Yes, ma’am. LinkedIn is amazing.

Toby Dorr: It is.

Tanaine Jenkins: because I get to meet people like

Toby Dorr: Yes. I like to ask my guests a question that kind of gives us some insight into who you are. And that question is, what’s your favorite color? And what does that say about you?

Tanaine Jenkins: My favorite color is blue. It says I’m super duper calm. That’s what it says about

Toby Dorr: that’s excellent. Yes. Yes. That’s an important characteristic.

Tanaine Jenkins: am tranquil. I even have the tattoo to

Toby Dorr: Oh, wow.

Tanaine Jenkins: It means tranquility.

Toby Dorr: I don’t think anybody in my life would describe me as tranquil or calm, and it’s something that I really need to learn to adapt, and I just am always going, going, going. So, I love that. I love

Tanaine Jenkins: laid back.

Toby Dorr: Can you tell us about a crossroads in your life that pushed you in a different direction?

Tanaine Jenkins: Several actually, but, uh, the number was in fact, um, when I went to prison, I defrauded a financial institution for $88, 000 and was sentenced to two years prison, five years probation. And, uh, I had to figure out what I would do after. And so I was at a crossroad absolutely at that point in my life.

Toby Dorr: prison is definitely a crossroads. That’s for sure. And, and you cannot come out of prison and be the same person you were when you went in. You either have to, um, go in a worse direction or totally redirect your life and go in a complete different direction, I think.

Tanaine Jenkins: absolutely either you’re going to do, you’re going to come out worse than when you win or better.

Toby Dorr: but you can’t come out the same. It’s not possible.

Tanaine Jenkins: come out the same. You are

Toby Dorr: know, I thought when I got out of prison I’d just go back home and drop right back into my life and just pick up where we left off But it doesn’t work that way because for us in prison life kind of stops at stalls but for people outside in your life your family members and friends their lives go on and you’re not a part of it and you can’t just That gap is a gap and you got to adjust and fit in in a different way than you did before you left.

Toby Dorr: Yeah.

Tanaine Jenkins: Like you said, their lives go on, ours stop.

Toby Dorr: Yes. Yes. So recently I saw you on an interview where you talked about. Your sentence and I thought that was so powerful. So can you um, Tell us what that interview was about and that concept about your sentence

Tanaine Jenkins: So. A lot of people don’t understand that when people get out of prison, that is not when their sentence ends and it’s been deemed a second sentence. So when people are released, whether it’s in prison or jail, they’re continually serving another sentence, which is being sentenced to live below the property line, uh, being sentenced to low paying jobs and homelessness and being exiled from their families or communities.

Tanaine Jenkins: So it’s so much further than what the judge, uh, gives us or what the deal, the deal that we make. It’s never ending. It’s like once a felon, always a felon, and it’s, it’s

Toby Dorr: it’s it’s like a life sentence so, you know, I feel the same way when I went to prison, you know the court system Representing society told me what they expected of me to repay my error But it’s never paid because you’re right. You come out of prison and you still have to check that box as a felon.

Toby Dorr: And a year and a half ago, I moved to Virginia from Kansas city and I’ve lived in Massachusetts, Missouri, Kansas, and now Virginia, since I’ve been out of prison, I have never not voted in an election until I got to Virginia. And I was shocked to find out that in the state of Virginia, felons are banned from voting for life. You don’t get the rights back. You have to petition the governor when he has to review your individual case To decide that it’s okay for you to vote now Why was it okay for me to vote two years ago? And now today all of a sudden i’m not worthy of voting just because i’ve moved to a different state I mean, it’s just ludicrous Doesn’t make a bit of

Tanaine Jenkins: in, in 2018 in Florida, amendment court was passed and that restored all the women rights for the felons in Florida, however, there were loopholes. Like, if you owed fines or anything like that, you

Toby Dorr: Or you had certain kinds of crimes you wouldn’t be allowed

Tanaine Jenkins: kinds of crimes

Toby Dorr: They caught a bunch of people and had to send them back to prison because they registered to vote because they thought they had the right and they didn’t.

Tanaine Jenkins: no, no, no, that’s, that’s not, I work with FRC, Florida Rights Registration Coalition, and what actually happened is that when they went to the DMV, they were asked, hey, do you vote? Are you registered to vote? And they said, you know, I can’t. He was like, yes, you can. Here’s a voter registration

Toby Dorr: Mm hmm.

Tanaine Jenkins: they were given a voter registration card

Toby Dorr: yes, they were

Tanaine Jenkins: they could vote.

Toby Dorr: that they could register to vote and then it turns out because of some loophole in the law that that individual person wasn’t eligible. No one told him that. So they really were tricked, I think, into registering to vote when they shouldn’t have.

Tanaine Jenkins: And they did. They were charged with voter fraud and our governor went out after all these people vote unknowingly. And the thing is, it wasn’t fraud because they didn’t know that they were doing something wrong. Now, there were individuals that were caught in Florida who knowingly voted twice and didn’t get the treatment that these people

Toby Dorr: that amazing? Yeah. Wow. People who actually

Tanaine Jenkins: individuals from not voting. Mm-Hmm.

Toby Dorr: and didn’t get in trouble, but people who were tricked into registering, they wanted their heads on a platter. And it’s simply because they were felons, and who cares what happens to felons? And that’s, that’s just a totally ridiculous mindset that needs to change.

Toby Dorr: So I love what you said our sentences are never done.

Tanaine Jenkins: they are never done, and I think it was to actually, um, scare other individuals not to vote

Toby Dorr: Mm hmm

Tanaine Jenkins: in that election. So yeah, I think it was too sided.

Toby Dorr: yeah, I agree. That was quite a mess. So, um, You’re you’re passionate about equipping re entry programs with the tools needed to help reduce the recidivism rate as well as providing clients with the knowledge and power to succeed and i’ve Written down some of the things that you think are important in a re entry program And one of them is to help people change their mindset So can you tell us a little bit about that?

Tanaine Jenkins: So in 2000 and so I went to prison 2010, came home in 12 and eight years later in 2020. I was still in this fall, I guess I was in a rut. And what it was is that the stigma of being a felon was weighing heavy on me, and I felt like I couldn’t do the things that I did before prison. So I went to prison.

Tanaine Jenkins: When I went to prison, I was in college to get my computer networking and telecommunications degree. I was a business analyst, making upward of 60, 000 a year. And when I came home, I didn’t have access to any of that any longer. And therefore, I believed what society said about me. I believed that I wasn’t Uh, you know, that I wouldn’t succeed that, you know, prison was the end of my life, basically.

Toby Dorr: Mm

Tanaine Jenkins: So, when you have that mindset, you’re stuck and you cannot move forward. And so, when you change that mindset, when you are able to see past your past, basically, or even past where you are at that moment. Then that’s when you begin to grow and that’s when things begin to happen in 2020, a friend of mine knows 2021, a friend of mine said to name one day.

Tanaine Jenkins: I hope you feel like you’re enough. And that’s why I realized I didn’t feel like I was enough.

Toby Dorr: yeah, that’s powerful. That’s powerful. I remember in one of my counseling sessions, my counselor asked me, What would you tell the old Toby? If you could give her a message and I said I would tell her she’s enough I mean, I think that’s so important and then I saw that that was one of your messages So I really felt a connection there because so many of us think that we are not enough And the truth is we can always become more but we are enough as we are, you know We’re worthy of something and I think that’s such a powerful message.

Toby Dorr: I love that you also talk

Tanaine Jenkins: the fact that

Toby Dorr: go ahead

Tanaine Jenkins: now it’s just going to sit back and we were worthy before we went in. We’re still worthy after we come out.

Toby Dorr: That’s right. I so agree. You know, in fact, in a lot of ways, we may be even more worthy because when you come out of prison, I think you bring some wisdom with you. That was hard one. And and that’s a powerful tool to use, I think. So you also talk about the importance of creating an action plan and tell me a little bit about that and tell me why it’s hard for people to come up with an action plan.

Tanaine Jenkins: A man that doesn’t plan plans to fail. Um, it’s hard to it’s it’s hard to come up with an action plan because one, we are limited in the things that we can do. We are limited in the jobs that we can apply for, the jobs that we now qualify for, whether we qualified for them before prison, we don’t qualify after.

Tanaine Jenkins: We are not able to, um, see past, you know, what society sees of us. You know, society sees a felon, I’m a felon. So for, I didn’t have a plan when I came home from prison and I think that stagnated my growth. It absolutely, I don’t think, it is, I was stagnant because I didn’t plan for anything. I just knew that I needed to get a job and I needed to pay this restitution and go to my probation officer every month. You actually have goals, you have something to reach for having an action plan is important because everyone needs those regardless of if they’re big or little, if they’re a big goal or a year ago or five year goals without those goals, without that plan, then you’re always gonna be stuck in the same place.

Tanaine Jenkins: You’re

Toby Dorr: Yeah, you

Tanaine Jenkins: able to move forward.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, a plan does kind of force you to move in some direction. And when you’re not feeling good about yourself, it’s really comfortable to just stay stuck. But when you put together a plan and have goals, it forces you to start moving forward. And sometimes it’s that first step that makes all the difference in the world.

Toby Dorr: So I can see the value in that. And a lot of times I think People don’t have a clue how to create an action plan or set goals because perhaps before they went to prison, they just lived a day at a time. So I think that that really pushes them to become all that they can be. I think that’s a pretty powerful thought. Um,

Tanaine Jenkins: goes hand in hand with that mindset change as

Toby Dorr: Yes, it does. It certainly does. And you also talk about helping people recognize how their decisions affect their lives and everyone else’s lives that are close to them. You know, we’re, we’re kind of like the ripple effect. You know, everything you do, it just pulses out around you and affects everyone.

Toby Dorr: That you come into contact with. So, I think that’s a pretty powerful way to look at the world. And tell me, uh, some of the examples that you’ve seen of how that’s made a difference.

Tanaine Jenkins: children are collateral damage when their parents

Toby Dorr: Oh, yes. Yes, yes,

Tanaine Jenkins: Um, and there’s, there’s a statistic that people don’t talk about that 60 percent of children of incarcerated parents become incarcerated themselves.

Toby Dorr: Yes,

Tanaine Jenkins: So, because, Yes. The children of incarcerated parents need just as much help as their parents do, because they have trauma and they need to get through the trauma of being separated or being snatched from their parent.

Tanaine Jenkins: And some people, um, most individuals or women that go to prison are single

Toby Dorr: Yes. Yes, they

Tanaine Jenkins: to take care of their children? Now that children are in the system, it’s like you said, it’s a replica of that. The collateral damage is deafening when people, individuals, uh, go to prison. Fortunately, I didn’t have any biological, biological, biological children of my own.

Tanaine Jenkins: Um, I had my nephews, and I had to Showed them something different. They came to visit me and I had to tell them. Hey, you don’t want to be where I

Toby Dorr: Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

Tanaine Jenkins: And it’s just a wave and it’s it’s going to continue until we figure out a way to try to um Block them, I guess

Toby Dorr: Yeah, I kind of, I kind of look at it as, you know, breaking the chain of a pattern, a repetitive pattern, because you do become what you know, you do become what’s familiar in your life. And, you know, I think society with the stigma of being a felon, and they look at the children of felons and think they don’t have a chance, and they, they, the overall impression is that they don’t have a chance, and the kids feel that, and so they believe they don’t have a chance.

Toby Dorr: And Showing them something different and standing up and moving in a different direction can be so powerful for a mother who’s getting out of prison. I think it changes the lives of their Children. It changes the lives of the grandchildren to come, and it just makes the world a better place. So society benefits,

Tanaine Jenkins: children cannot be what they cannot see.

Toby Dorr: That’s right. They have to have a role model to show them what to do. And I think that’s so powerful. Um, and you also say that our returning citizens are not looking for a handout. They’re simply looking for a hand up.

Tanaine Jenkins: Yes ma’am.

Toby Dorr: There are so many ways to help someone who’s getting out of prison and you know, one of the most obvious ways I think is for employers to be open to considering hiring a felon

Tanaine Jenkins: Yes

Toby Dorr: many So many people who come out of prison are good, decent people who can make a difference in the world, and I think if you give a felon an employment opportunity, you will probably find that they’re going to become one of the best employees you have because they know how precious that opportunity is, and they don’t want to jeopardize it.

Tanaine Jenkins: I have, uh, my friends ask me, why do I work so hard? I said, because I know what it’s like not to be able to, to, to work. I know what it’s like not to be able.

Toby Dorr: Mm hmm. Mm

Tanaine Jenkins: I don’t work two or three jobs. I don’t have to do anything, but I would work two or three jobs because I know what it’s like to get a no. I know what it’s like to be walked out of a job because my background came back

Toby Dorr: hmm.

Tanaine Jenkins: you know, I had this blemish on my background.

Tanaine Jenkins: I know what it’s like. So I’m going to make sure that I am an upstanding and outstanding employee. That’s just just what it is because when we get the opportunity to show what we have or show what we can do, then we’re going to make the best of that opportunity and hiring is a big push right now, and it should have always been a bit of push.

Tanaine Jenkins: I also say that, you know, like I was saying before, when we went to prison, we had this skill set. We didn’t lose the skill set when we came home.

Toby Dorr: Right, right,

Tanaine Jenkins: Am a that person. I still am a business analyst. I still have that mindset. My skills didn’t go away But yet I can’t get a position in that field because it’s more so is banking in private relations, so I

Toby Dorr: Yeah. Yeah. So I love what you say. Because of my past mistakes, I can help others in their process. So it doesn’t take them years to feel like they are enough. That is such a powerful message that they are enough. You have an organization called Everything I Am. Can you tell us about that organization and your mission?

Tanaine Jenkins: so everything I am started. Um, but my my friend said one thing I hope you feel like you’re enough and I started to think and I was like, if I don’t feel like I’m enough, I’m sure there are many other people that have been in my shoes or that are in my shoes that don’t feel like they’re enough

Toby Dorr: Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm.

Tanaine Jenkins: So I just wanted to start a clothing line, just a confidence boosting clothing line with just inspirational or confidence boosting messages on them. Like, I am enough. I am everything. I am more than enough. I am everything and then some. And when I started the clothing line and it started to do really well, I was like, okay, what’s next? And another friend, you gotta have good friends. You

Toby Dorr: That’s right. They make all the difference.

Tanaine Jenkins: They do. Another friend, they were like, you really should. Speak. And I was like, I guess I could. And I’m a spoken word poet. So I’m used to the stage, not an issue. And an ex of mine was telling my story, but was telling it wrong.

Tanaine Jenkins: And so I’m gonna have to go and correct the wrong telling of my story. And when I started to tell my story, I began to get stronger and I began to get freer. And it was a healthy thing. And so everything I am took a different direction and I began to speak and I received my public speaking certification in 2022.

Tanaine Jenkins: And even before I received my certification, I was speaking on the steps of the Florida Capitol. And that’s how it all started. I reached out to organization and said, how can I help? And I told them, they asked me what my story was. I told them my story. And they said, you can help and and everything I am just became this public speaking platform for myself.

Tanaine Jenkins: And then now I used to focus on the speaking engagements because I do a lot of things, um, out of my pocket,

Toby Dorr: hmm.

Tanaine Jenkins: but the clothing line use that. And it also helps. With the necessities of when men are going to come home and they may need bus tickets or they may need, um, just toiletries, deodorant, toothbrush.

Tanaine Jenkins: And so we are able to, uh, buy those things and give them to those individuals that need it.

Toby Dorr: I love that. I love your message, Everything I Am, I Am Enough. I can relate to all of that. I’ve lived it, and it’s powerful. It’s really powerful. You also have a book out, From Prison to President, Seven Ways to Succeed in Your Second Chance. When was your book released?

Tanaine Jenkins: it was released last year and it’s funny because I forget about it.

Toby Dorr: Ha, ha, ha,

Tanaine Jenkins: yeah, I did write this book, right? Yeah, yeah, I did write that book. Um, it was released, when was it? Officially In November of last year,

Toby Dorr: So like five months ago or a year and five months ago

Tanaine Jenkins: uh, five months ago.

Toby Dorr: Five months ago. That’s excellent. Yeah, my book was released last year too. It was released in june So we have that in common. Also, I think

Tanaine Jenkins: Yes, ma’am.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, we have a lot in common, I think So what’s next for today?

Tanaine Jenkins: Oh, wow. Well, I have a contract with the state of Tennessee, and I’ll be, I’ll be keynoting their graduations this year and that this is the 1st. Well, it’s three graduating classes. This is the first graduates in prison that actually were able to get the associate’s degree in the time that people get their associate’s degree.

Tanaine Jenkins: So two years.

Toby Dorr: Wow

Tanaine Jenkins: So I’m keynoting at their graduations. I have a couple TV things that are coming up, news things that are coming up. Hopefully I’ll be relocating and, you know, just continue to speak about the second sentence and helping individuals find success in their second chance because that’s really what it’s all about.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, and I think you have some programs and on your website to some kind of classes or courses

Tanaine Jenkins: Yes, ma’am. I do workshops because a lot of individuals reach out to me and ask how they could possibly, um, speak or tell their stories. So I offer workshops. One on one are virtual. Workshops or workshops for those individuals that are looking to just tell their story and become tech speakers or

Toby Dorr: Yeah, I think that’s excellent. Yeah, I love that You know becoming a TEDx speakers in my future too. So that’s on my list. I’m working on getting to that So I think that’s awesome And I also do a workshop called slaying your shame dragon and I think so many women deal with shame and they are their own worst enemies, you know, we need to just like slay that shame dragon and Not let it back in our lives because we don’t want anything to hold us back.

Tanaine Jenkins: Because,

Toby Dorr: ourselves back enough. We need to

Tanaine Jenkins: yes, we do. For eight years, I was ashamed of my story. And people have to understand telling their story. It’s freeing and then it, then it gives you power back and takes power away from other individuals that are holding that story against you

Toby Dorr: Yes. I love that. Mm hmm. I just love that. I love that. I feel like we have a lot in common and I definitely today and I really want to stay in touch. I think we have so much synergies and I love everything you’re doing and and I wish you all the best. I think you’ve you’re doing awesome work out there.

Toby Dorr: Much needed work. So what’s one question you wish I’d asked you? And how would you have answered it?

Tanaine Jenkins: Um, geez,

Toby Dorr: Is there something else you’d like to share that we haven’t talked about?

Tanaine Jenkins: let me think about that. I, cause I literally was asked this question yesterday. What did I say yesterday? Oh man. Well, now that you put me on the spot, I can’t remember, or I can’t think of anything, but it’s. If, what would I say to, um, returning citizens that are coming home?

Toby Dorr: Yeah.

Tanaine Jenkins: I would say that there is a light at the end of that tunnel.

Toby Dorr: Yes, there is.

Tanaine Jenkins: open your eyes and you’ll see it.

Toby Dorr: that. I love

Tanaine Jenkins: going toward that light.

Toby Dorr: I love that to name. Thanks so much for joining us today. And, um, I definitely look forward to staying in touch for. The rest of our lives. I

Tanaine Jenkins: Yes, ma’am.

Toby Dorr: Thank you so much tonight.

Tanaine Jenkins: Absolutely. Thank you.

Toby Dorr: Thank you for joining me on Fierce Conversations with Toby. Your support and listening means so much to me, and I hope today’s conversation makes a difference in your world. If you would like to support this podcast, there are many ways to do so. I found these ways tend to help the most in getting our message out into the world.

Toby Dorr: Number one, subscribe to the show on Apple podcasts, Spotify podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you listen to, or watch this podcast. If you can leave a five star rating or a like on this episode on YouTube, that helps even more. And if you leave a comment or a review, that helps the most. The next way you can support Fierce Conversations with Toby is to join our Patreon at patreon.

Toby Dorr: com slash fierce conversations. All tiers come with a downloadable digital gratitude journal created by me and membership in a private Facebook group that I also lead. Most importantly, 10 percent of all proceeds from your subscription will go directly to donating my workbooks to women in prison.

Toby Dorr: Finally, sharing the link to this show with your friends, family, and anyone who wants to listen is appreciated more than I can say. Thank you again for joining me today and supporting this show by listening to it and sharing it with friends. Fierce Conversations is created and hosted by me, Toby Dorr, produced by Number 3 Productions.

Toby Dorr: The theme song that you’re hearing now, Groovin was composed and arranged by Lisa Plass. Lisa also plays the flute for the theme with Carolyn Parody on piano and Tony Ventura on bass. Find out more at tobydore. com. This is Fierce Conversations with Toby. Escape your prison.‚Äč

Verified by ExactMetrics