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Wrong Lanes Have Right Turns

A Pardoned Man's Escape from the School-to-Prison Pipeline and What We Can Do to Dismantle It

Michael Phillips

About Wrong Lanes Have Right Turns

The unforgettable true story of one man’s escape from the school-to-prison pipeline, how he reinvented himself as a pastor and education reform advocate, and what his journey can teach us about turning the collateral damage in the lives of our youth into hope.

“A heart-wrenching and triumphant story that will change lives.”—Bishop T. D. Jakes

Michael Phillips would never become anything. At least, that’s what he was told. It seemed like everyone was waiting for him to just fall through the cracks. After losing his father, suffering a life-altering car accident, and losing his college scholarship, Michael turned to selling drugs to make ends meet. But when his house was raided, he was arrested and thrown into a living nightmare.

When it looked like he would be sentenced to spend years behind bars, the judge gave him a choice—go to a special college program for adjudicated youth or face the possibility of a thirty-year prison sentence. It wasn’t hard to pick. From that choice, a mission was born—to help change the system that shuffles so many young Black men like Michael straight from school to prison. Today, Michael is the pastor of a thriving church, a local leader in Baltimore, and a member of the Maryland State Board of Education. He discovered that education was the path to becoming who he was created to be.

Armed with research, statistics, and his powerful story, Michael tackles the embedded privilege of the education system and introduces ideas for change that could level the playing field and reduce negative impacts on vulnerable youth. He explores ways in which the readers can help advocate and provide resources for students, and points us to the one thing anyone can start doing, no matter who we are or what our role is: speak into young kids’ lives. Tell them of their inherent worth and purpose.

In this inspiring, thought-provoking, and energizing call to action, Michael’s practical steps provide a way forward to anyone wanting to help create space for collateral hope in the lives of for young people around them.

Praise

“Michael Phillips is like a son to me. He has become a voice of hope for this generation. Having overcome profound challenges, he now speaks for the forgotten children of our society with honesty and power. His story will touch your heart, make you think, and inspire you to act until we can say together that ‘all the children are well.’”—Bishop T. D. Jakes, chairman of the board for T. D. Jakes Foundation, bestselling author and award-winning filmmaker, and senior pastor of the Potter’s House

“Do not mistake this book for just one more ‘overcoming hardship’ story. This is a book about America: our race relations, justice system, and tragically dysfunctional schools. It is a book about faith and being human. So often, taking on such vast topics risks oversimplification. By contrast, this is a highly intelligent, finely nuanced, and deeply moving book. Here is a testimony, above all, to lived intelligence—illuminating our national traumas from one man’s personal experience without sentimentality. It is a remarkable book in every sense of that word.”—Dr. David Steiner, executive director of Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy

About Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips is the founder of LifePrep and currently serves as the chief engagement and fulfillment officer for the T.D. Jakes Foundation. He is the chairman of 50CAN and serves as a board member of KuriosEd. His powerful story and message of collateral hope has transformed many lives and helped to revitalize communities. Michael Phillips and his wife, Dr. Anita Phillips, reside in Dallas, Texas.
 

 

Product Details

256 pages | Published by WaterBrook

On Sale Date: Jan 25, 2022

Trim Size: 6 x 9

Carton Quantity: 12

Sneak Peek

Start reading the first chapter

The unforgettable true story of one man’s escape from the school-to-prison pipeline, how he reinvented himself as a pastor and education reform advocate, and what his journey can teach us about turning the collateral damage in the lives of our youth into hope. “A heart-wrenching and triumphant story that will change lives.”—Bishop T. D. Jakes Michael Phillips would never become anything. At least, that’s what he was told. It seemed like everyone was waiting for him to just fall through the cracks. After losing his father, suffering a life-altering car accident, and losing his college scholarship, Michael turned to selling drugs to make ends meet. But when his house was raided, he was arrested and thrown into a living nightmare. When it looked like he would be sentenced to spend years behind bars, the judge gave him a choice—go to a special college program for adjudicated youth or face the possibility of a thirty-year prison sentence. It wasn’t hard to pick. From that choice, a mission was born—to help change the system that shuffles so many young Black men like Michael straight from school to prison. Today, Michael is the pastor of a thriving church, a local leader in Baltimore, and a member of the Maryland State Board of Education. He discovered that education was the path to becoming who he was created to be. Armed with research, statistics, and his powerful story, Michael tackles the embedded privilege of the education system and introduces ideas for change that could level the playing field and reduce negative impacts on vulnerable youth. He explores ways in which the readers can help advocate and provide resources for students, and points us to the one thing anyone can start doing, no matter who we are or what our role is: speak into young kids’ lives. Tell them of their inherent worth and purpose. In this inspiring, thought-provoking, and energizing call to action, Michael’s practical steps provide a way forward to anyone wanting to help create space for collateral hope in the lives of for young people around them.

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chelsea Woodward, Publicist
cwoodward@penguinrandomhouse.com
Contact: Lisa Beech, Asst. Publicity Director
lbeech@penguinrandomhouse.com

WRONG LANES HAVE RIGHT TURNS
by Michael Phillips

A WaterBrook Hardcover / On sale January 25, 2022

“Michael Phillips is like a son to me. He has become a voice of hope for this generation. Having overcome profound challenges, he now speaks for the forgotten children of our society with honesty and power. 
His story will touch your heart, make you think, and inspire you to act until we can say together that ‘all the children are well.’”

—Bishop T. D. Jakes, chairman of the board for T.D. Jakes Foundation, bestselling author and award-winning filmmaker, and senior pastor of the Potter’s House
 
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Michael Phillips was almost just another statistic. After getting arrested at age 18, the once-promising student was facing the possibility of 30 years in prison. But because of a miraculous turn of events, that wasn’t the end of his story.
 
With striking vulnerability, Phillips—now a pastor, thought leader, modern education expert, and the chief engagement and fulfillment officer for the T.D. Jakes Foundation—details how flaws in our education system at a pivotal time in his life turned his promising potential toward high-stakes crime and how one simple choice brought him a second chance in his book, WRONG LANES HAVE RIGHT TURNS: A Pardoned Man’s Escape from the School-to-Prison Pipeline and What We Can Do to Dismantle It (on sale 1/25/22, WaterBrook).
 
Phillips’ second chance came as he stood before a judge and was given a choice: serve a decades-long prison sentence if found guilty or attend a college program for adjudicated youth. He chose education, and with that one decision, not only did the trajectory of his life change, but his life mission was born—to help change the system that results in so many young Black men like himself going straight from school to prison.

Through his unforgettable story—and his extensive experience as a pastor and education advocate for “at-promise” youth—Phillips highlights our modern crisis of education and incarceration. For example, 38% of the prison population is Black, yet Black people represent only 13% of the total American population. He also notes that from 1989 to 2013, the U.S. spent six times more on jails than on higher education and, in some states, builds more prisons than schools.

Phillips writes, “If our budgets reflect our belief systems, then it is evident that we have lost hope in human potential and have divested from individual purpose.” He goes on to offer practical principles for reform, including the one thing anyone can start doing now: empowering kids to embrace their God-given purpose and worth.

Wrong Lanes Have Right Turns is more than just an inspiring story: it illuminates the power that advocacy, resources, and opportunities have in transforming children’s lives and their eventual adulthood, and in ultimately being who God created them to be.
 
“I have driven down many wrong lanes in my life,” Phillips writes. “I have also made some very important right turns. But now I am making another turn, and I’m hoping that you will join me… Any of us can change the world of a child or a classroom for the better, right where we are.”
 
In an interview, Phillips can speak about:
- His powerful story of escaping the school-to-prison pipeline
- His testimony of abandoning faith after a series of losses and how a second chance at college drew him back to God and his pastoral calling
- Educators and their crucial role in children’s success or failure
- Mass incarceration statistics and how the education system contributes to it
- Why individual action is essential for structural change, and the steps that individuals can take to reform education and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline
- The 5-Key Model for reintegrating previously incarcerated individuals into society
- Despite his background, his son graduated from Harvard University; when the judge gave Michael a second chance, he gave his future generations a second chance, too
 
For more information, visit www.waterbrookmultnomah.com. 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michael Phillips is passionate about helping people live a better life. His determination to drive social change with lasting transformational benefits to society has led him to become an innovator and thought leader in social entrepreneurship and education. He is the founder of LifePrep and currently serves as the chief engagement and fulfillment officer for the T.D. Jakes Foundation.
 
As an author and inspirational speaker, Phillips has become a champion for children and families around the world. He is the chairman of 50CAN and serves as a board member of KuriosEd. His powerful story and message of collateral hope has transformed many lives and helped to revitalize communities. Michael Phillips and his wife, Dr. Anita Phillips, reside in Dallas, Texas. For more information, visit www.MichaelPhillips.info.

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