From Prison to 60,000 Online Followers

The Philadelphia Inquirer had a great story in today’s paper about Wallace Peeples, better known as Wallo267 on social media.

Peeples has been out of jail for about 150 days, where he had been serving a 20 year sentence for multiple armed robberies.

Peeples made the news three years ago when state troopers were conducting an investigation into contraband at Graterford prison and arrested the 34 year-old inmate and charged him with possession of contraband and weapons or implements of escape (I didn’t know you could be arrested while in prison…). Peeples was in possession of three cell phones, five chargers, five headsets, an iPod and a wireless hot spot!

Apparently he was putting all of that contraband to good use, building up his Instagram profile

Today, he has over 60,000 Instagram followers, and the key to his success seems to be his authenticity.

He brands himself as a motivator, entrepreneur (he’s started a clothing company), and life coach.

I’m convinced that people want to do the right thing and are capable of learning how to do so, when given the right opportunity.

As long as Peeples was not engaged in any criminal activity using his cell phones, iPod and wireless hot spot, I didn’t see the harm in his having that “contraband” while in jail, but I do see the benefit.

Peeples is trying to change his life around, and is a good role model for others who want to do the same. The Internet has provided him, like so many others, an outlet for doing so, and I think such behavior should be encouraged in prisoners.

Here’s an example of one of the videos Peeples posted where he implores viewers “Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late”. The video has been viewed nearly 400,000 times on Instagram.

He’s a perfect example of some of the themes I’ve written about before, that people can change, and the importance of hope, opportunity, and redemption in helping with that change. (I’ve also written a bit about the need for prison reform and some unique approaches to doing so.)

The Inquirer story closes with this quote from Wallo:

I don’t care how down you are.  You can bounce back. I don’t care what nobody says. We’re extraordinary people. And there’s nothing we can’t do. Remember that.

We could all learn something from Wallo’s optimistic atitude, and I wish him the best.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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