Second chance programs to help ex-offenders find jobs

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There’s a local program offering a new lease on life to those released from lockup.

Roughly $250,000 has been pumped into the project helping one-time offenders avoid becoming repeat offenders. This program offers personal and professional tools — to assist former inmates as they transition into family and work- life.

Inside the historic Jesse H. Turner Sr. Freedom House, is an effort to re-write history for some.  A program called ‘The Final Escape’ is paving the way for former inmates to overcome their past — with the help of community leaders.

Bishop Hall has been doing this work for years. This isn’t just a grand opening today, this has been years in the making.

This big undertaking, is backed by a big budget.  Commissioner Mickell Lowery joining forces with the programs directors Bishop David Hall and Yvonne Williams to secure funding totaling a quarter million dollars.     

The money is a community grant from the Shelby County Government. Commissioner Lowery is optimistic the program will offer much-needed resources to former inmates, as they reintegrate into society.

“His work along with the revitalization of this community is going to help all of our people in the south city neighborhood. So I’m just happy to be able to sponsor it,” said Commissioner Mickell Lowery, of Shelby County.

The commissioner and the programs directors agree, the timing is perfect. Businesses once closed because of COVID -19 are starting to reopen and in need of more workers.     

The program offers both personal and professional skills, setting them up to succeed.

“Those that were once incarcerated — non violent offenders basically.. into a new setting, socially and economically,” said Bishop David Hall Sr., the Executive Director.

Those overseeing the program know there is a cloud of concern following some of the ex-offenders. But they also know it’s a new day with new possibilities to show those once behind bars The importance of not only getting out but staying out as well.

A community collaboration helping those who once broke the law, become law-abiding. For now the program is virtual, with the first group made up of 22 men and 12 women.

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