Ex-Felons Line-Up For Second Chance

(Memphis) There was a huge turnout Wednesday at an event aimed at helping ex-offenders.

The Tennessee Department of Corrections says this was the biggest event ever put on for it in our state.

The Mid-South Fairgrounds had 50 booths and a line out the door.

If you want a second chance, step in line.

“It’s long but it’s moving along,” said Donald Wilson.

Wilson served time in prison but doesn’t want to talk about that.

He’s looking forward, saying “It would be a big opportunity for me to put myself back in society.”

Markeeta Freeman is also looking ahead.

She spent five years locked up, and was just released a month ago.

“It’s just important because we made a change and it’s just time for a better life.”

The lines inside and outside the Pipkin Building at the Mid-South Fairgrounds said a lot.

“It means these people here are in need of services,” said April Buckner, with the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

They were people looking for jobs, or a way towards landing one, by cleaning up some of the wreckage of their past.

“Preparing them for the employment piece that is coming next,” said Terrance Johnson, a workforce development coordinator with the City of Memphis.

One of the long lines was filled with people trying to get their fines and fees waived on outstanding traffic tickets.

Another line had people hoping to get their license back after getting it suspended for various reasons.

“It will mean so much. I will be able to go where I need to go and get me a better job and I don’t have to worry on waiting on nobody,” said Freeman.

When Markeeta can get a job and make it there, the state says it’s better for all of us because she won’t have to turn back to crime.

That’s why Memphis and Shelby County put on the event.

“Do you wish there were employers here?” asked reporter Sabrina Hall.

“Yes. That’s what I thought,” said Keesha Driver.

While invited by the county, no employers showed up to take a risk and offer people like Donald that second chance.

“I am just trying to change my life, do a whole 360,” he said.

From waiting in line, Donald knows patience is key.

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