By Brenda Waters

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Hollywood made an appearance at the Allegheny County Jail this morning.

More than 100 inmates got words of encouragement from an actor who has been in their shoes.

You know him as a star of Broadway, the big screen and television.

But what you may not know about Charles Dutton is that the 61-year-old actor spent eight years in a Maryland prison — in fact he was in and out of institutions from the age of 12 to 27.

Watch Charles Dutton’s Full Speech:
(Note: Raw video of the speech contains explicit language.)

When he addressed the inmates he began with a few questions.

“How many of y’all in here like this joint?” Dutton asked inmates. “Nobody, right, nobody likes it.”

“How many of y’all been in here before?” He continued to ask.

Several hands went up, “and you say you don’t like it.”

Dutton told the captive audience he went from jail to Yale and encouraged the inmates to make up their mind not to return to the same situation.

In his youth, Dutton dropped out of school before finishing middle school in Baltimore.

He was in and out of juvenile facilities, jail and prison, but by age 30, he was a student at Yale University where he graduated from its drama school.

He told the inmates it is never too late to make a change.

Dutton was in town for the Housing Authority of Pittsburgh’s clean slate program where he presented his one-man show “From Jail to Yale: Serving Time on Stage.”

Dutton told KDKA’s Brenda Waters that whenever he visits a city, he always tries to speak to inmates in the area.

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