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    Louis Dooley



    It should have been no surprise Louis went to prison when he was 19, based on the events of his young life. He grew up in East St Louis, IL. His mother often worked two jobs to make ends meet and provide for her son. As a result, he stayed many nights and summers at his great grandmother’s. The neighborhood was rough and he saw things no young child should see. He liked school and excelled in it. In 7th grade his mother moved him to a different school district in a better neighborhood. Suddenly he wasn’t the smartest one in the class. He struggled in making new friends because he was different than the other kids. His mother was white and his father was black. He felt the other kids thought he was too white to play with the black kids and too black to play with the white kids. Still, overcoming adversity he turned to sports. He excelled in sports and enjoyed those young teenage years.


    When he was 15 years old the bottom fell out of his world. His father was robbed and killed. Even though his mother was raised in the Catholic Church and his great grandmother was a dedicated usher for 50+ years he still didn’t know God. For some reason this was the first one he turned to during this tragedy. Blaming Him he cried, “I hate you God!” Shortly after the funeral he began staying home from school, fighting and selling drugs. His behavior got worse. His mother was dealing with her own grief and depression so she didn’t realize how serious the situation had become with Louis. But he did. He asked if he could live with his uncle out of state for his senior year in high school. He was hoping that the male guidance and structure would bring him back around. Unfortunately he was too far gone and out of control.


    After he graduated from high school he moved back home. Within a month he was arrested for first degree armed robbery. Six months after that he was arrested for first degree armed robbery and first degree assault. After a short trial he was convicted and sentenced to a life sentence plus 50 years. Unbelievably this is where his story really begins. While in prison he found a relationship with God. He made God a promise and hasn’t looked back since. A few men he met in prison were workers for a prison ministry called Set Free Ministries. Louis learned about the ministry and decided to take the Bible studies the ministry offered. After a few years of taking around 70-80 courses he decided that he would like to be a volunteer worker for Set Free.


    This was a huge turning point in Louis’ life. His relationship deepened with Christ as he began to minister to the men whose courses he commented on. As his relationship grew stronger with Christ his life slowly transformed. Accepting the fact that he may never get out of prison he learned how to survive on the inside. Then one day after 10 years there his life would change again. He received a letter from a woman he didn’t know. The relationship grew and he now longed to be released. He never imagined when he went before the parole board 3 years later they would give him a release date! After he was released he married the young lady he met while in prison and God moved him to the Chicago area where she was from. He was amazed at the diversity and how he didn’t look so different walking down the street. He continues to live for Christ speaking at churches and volunteering with organizations for at risk youth. He overcomes adversity every day relearning how to fit into society. He is still keeping that promise to God and God is still delivering.


    Louis has now taken the position of Regional Director in the state of Illinois for Set Free Ministries. After a little over three years of being out of prison Louis has now found his calling from God. Louis’ vision is to work with men and women to prevent them from being incarcerated as well as helping those in jail/prison. He also has a passion for those who have gotten out of prison and are trying to be re-acclimated back into society.


    Louis's full story is available in his book Prison Saved My Life, available for purchase at EmmausWorldwide.org/Louis. Also available on Amazon.

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    Have you ever been at the end of your rope?

    Have you ever felt the bottom fall out of your life?

    Have you ever felt completely and utterly hopeless?


    If you answered yes to any of these, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. So did Louis Dooley. This is his story. It will resonate with you, make you uncomfortable, shock you, make you laugh and cry, but in the end it will give you hope.