DO YOU THINK THIS RE-ENTRY PROGRAM WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN OUR CITY?
Eric Baylor is adjusting to life as a free man. In March, he was released from prison, but he says because of his felony record he can’t find a job.
“Even though we’ve made mistakes, we paid our debt to society, and we’re just looking for a chance to be reintegrated back into society,” Baylor said.
But the city of Houston is hoping to change the hopelessness of the recently released with a new program designed to reintegrate offenders.
The city’s health department will begin the re-entry effort next week at the Northeast Multi-service Center. It’s operating off a half-million dollars in funding from Mayor Bill White’s office.
City officials say it will provide jobs, housing and health counseling to those who are just released from prison.
“What we found is that the same thing that people are re-entering from prison or jail need is real similar to what the other people in the community need,”Sheila Savannah said.
Savannah, a bureau chief at the health department, says all people need is a a job and home.
Without that, city officials say the 16,000 inmates released into Houston annually could land back behind bars. Texas has a 35 percent recidivism rate!