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Cons Cashing In

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Dave Dahl sits in the living room playing guitar and singing songs about justice and the lack of it.  He was in the slammer off and on for 15 years for dealing meth and assorted other felonies.  Now he is working and relishing his second chance.  Four years ago, Dave Dahl returned to the family bakery in Portland, Oregon and is the face and story behind Dave’s Killer Bread which is a huge hit in the Pacific Northwest. 

In Chicago a group of ex-cons are getting a second chance at a fast food restaurant called Felony Franks.  They are grateful that someone gave them jobs and don’t really understand why there is a ruckus over the name.  Jim Andrews who owns the hot dog stand thinks people who are threatening to shut the place down just don’t want felons in the neighborhood.  The homeowners say they think the name is disrespectful, racist, and reminds people of what the West Side used to be like.

Ex-cons are not a circle of people I am usually in contact with but I was impressed by their honesty, their ambition, their desire to contribute.  They want to work and be integrated into society again.  These are stories of redemption and rehabilitation and as HDNet’s World Report discovered some cons are using their pasts to cash in and create a much brighter future for themselves and their families.

Cons Cashing In from Vicky Collins on Vimeo.

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Author: Vicky Collins

Vicky Collins is a freelance television producer and journalist based in Denver, Colorado with a diverse portfolio of projects that including network news, cable programming, Olympic sports, corporate and non-profit videos. She is also an accomplished writer and photographer who is particularly interested in world travel and issues of global poverty. Some of her most satisfying assignments have been covering disasters, working in the slums of developing countries and telling stories of people who show great courage in the face of adversity. She has been in all 50 states and on six continents and many of her television stories and photos are posted on her website at To contact Vicky Collins directly email or tweet @vickycollins.

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