The former trial lawyer is a personal testament of another shot.
These days for Scruggs, a do over means raising awareness and funding for those seeking a second chance at a diploma or skill certification.
Scruggs spent time Thursday talking with members of the Corinth Rotary, Kiwanis and Civitan clubs during a joint meeting at Shiloh Ridge Athletic Club.
“I was involved and had purpose in my life,” said Scruggs of the time before he served six years in federal prison. “Then all of a sudden, I had no purpose and I wasn’t ready for that feeling … nothing counted.”
The once prominent lawyer’s career was derailed by his indictment in a judicial bribery scheme in November, 2007. He first served five years at the low-security federal corrections facility in Ashland, Kentucky.
“It was a tough place with some rough looking people,” said Scruggs.
It was also the place where Scruggs regained his purpose.
The 69-year-old became involved of helping inmates prepare for the GED by becoming a classroom math instructor.
“It was the most rewarding thing I have done,” he said. “It gave me a second chance and helped me survive six years in prison.”
Scruggs’s determination to help in the adult education field didn’t stop after his sentence was up. He founded Second Chance Mississippi which combines with Mississippi community colleges in effort to draw attention to adults who struggle getting their GED.
“A lot of those people wanted to pass the test to reconnect with their families,” he said. “I have been talking to groups like this across the state … urging them to create a pathway so community colleges can call on you.”
Scruggs shared with the group that community colleges in the state have a mandate to provide adult education, which can lead to a skill certification and a high school equivalency diploma.
The problem is the lack of funds received from governmental sources.
“Dedicated teachers are digging into their own pockets to keep adults from dropping out of the program,” he said.
According to Scruggs, 500,000 Mississippian do not have a high school diploma. Another 14,000 high school students drop out every year in the state with 77 students dropping out of high school every day.
“Mississippi ranks 50th in several national rankings,” said Scruggs. “I am tired of reading about that number every year.”
Money donated to the non-profit organization of Second Chance Mississippi is used to help people have a more productive life via adult education and workforce training.
“A 100 percent of money collected goes to these programs,” said Catti Beals, Director of Development with Second Chance Mississippi. “Dickie is taking care of all administrative costs.”
“In my department, we are dirt people,” added Charlie Smart ABE/GED Instructor at Northeast Mississippi Community College. “You can’t build anything without a foundation and that is the way we see ourselves … a GED is just a piece of paper, what people are trying to build is important.”