Paying It Forward: NBC 5 Exclusive

, Posted: Fri, May 18 2012 at 6:43 PM, Updated: Fri, May 18 2012 at 7:12 PM

Chris Silva and his crew were out preparing a Central Point home for a paint job in the coming days.

He's owned his own painting company for six years now, but Silva admits his life at one point was a mess.

"I was kind of the chief of the knuckle head tribe. I had some run-ins with the law," said owner of Silva Painting Company Chris Silva.

Silva spent time in jail, had battles with an addiction, lost his family, and didn't even have a license.

" So, I had to ride a bike to work," said Silva.

He was able to turn his life around.

He credits his belief in a higher power with helping him be the man he is today.

" I like who I see when I look in the mirror," said Silva.

To pay it forward, Chris plans on donating his time to paint a work center inside the Jackson County jail after the fiscal year. Although his plans at this point are still tentative, he wants to use current inmates to help him complete the job and teach them important life skills.

Federal statistics show that upwards of 70 percent of men and women who go to jail return in a couple of years. Federal, State, and local officials place a high priority on programs that keep offenders from returning to jail.

" If I can help one person rebuild their life like I did with mine, then as far as I am concerned, my life is a success," explained Silva.

Understanding the difficulties of life after prison, Chris says he even hires workers with a criminal past. He gives them a job and a chance to prove themselves.

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