BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT)– Nineteen men and women are prepared for life after incarceration following the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office program “Renewed for Reentry”.
Sheriff Mark Pettway started the program as way to help repeat offenders.
“It’s been a cycle since I was young,” says graduate Rachael Howle. “This is actually the first time that I’ve had everything that I’ve needed to transition out of incarceration and into the real world.”
The program lasted three weeks. Students received counseling services, money management training, job training, and learned about resources available to help them successfully transition back into society.
“It gave them the opportunity to have people to work with them, to help them see themselves as in a positive light, where some of them, they don’t feel like anyone gives them a second chance to do things differently, but through this program they are given the opportunity to do so,” says clinical counselor Rakita Jackson.
During the course, Howle says employers were brought to her. She says she was able to interview for openings that would provide her a career.
“Basically, everything has been thrown in our lap and given to us for us to run into an easy transition out of the jail and into the real world,” says Howle.
The first graduating class was all smiles receiving their diplomas from the course.
Chaplain Willie Hardley says this is the first step and the transition will not be easy.
“It’s going to be hard, but with the help of God, they can, but they need to, because they’ve got to have a positive influence, and right now this program has helped them look at a new perspective of life,” says Hardley.
Howle says she is ready to make the most of her second chance.
“The ball is in our court, so if we drop it — we’re a fool.”
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