Tulsa Non-Profit Helps Ex-Cons Re-Integrate After Prison - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

News

Tulsa Non-Profit Helps Ex-Cons Re-Integrate After Prison

Posted: Updated:
At the Tulsa Reentry One-Stop Center, counselors strive to give ex-cons a second chance at life. At the Tulsa Reentry One-Stop Center, counselors strive to give ex-cons a second chance at life.
"When I first got out, I put in application, after application, after application and was denied, denied, denied because of my charges," Heidi Allen (right) said. "When I first got out, I put in application, after application, after application and was denied, denied, denied because of my charges," Heidi Allen (right) said.
Program Manager Dolores Verbonitz explained, ex-cons have so many barriers to overcome after they've been released from prison. Program Manager Dolores Verbonitz explained, ex-cons have so many barriers to overcome after they've been released from prison.
Since the center opened in October, 110 people have enrolled. Nearly half have found jobs, including Anthony Wiley. Since the center opened in October, 110 people have enrolled. Nearly half have found jobs, including Anthony Wiley.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Hundreds of Oklahoma prisoners are released each year, with nothing but a few bucks in their pocket.

They struggle to get a job and often end up back behind bars. But a Tulsa non-profit organization is working to reduce the recidivism rate.

At the Tulsa Reentry One-Stop Center, counselors strive to give ex-cons, like Heidi Allen, a second chance at life.

"You get to the point to where you're just like, you feel hopeless and you feel suffocated, because how are you suppose to get through the struggles if you can't have employment?" Allen said.

She spent 14 months in prison for grand larceny and forgery.

"When I first got out, I put in application, after application, after application and was denied, denied, denied because of my charges," Allen said.

But now things are different.

The Reentry Center accepts anyone who's been out of prison for less than six months. They go through classes to prepare them for life after prison.

"They've taught me how to interview and to not be so nervous and not be ashamed of the past and the mistakes that I've made," Allen said.

Allen said she has a newfound confidence, and hopes that will help her land a job.

"It was just like a major wall lifted off me. The words don't do justice for what they've done for me," she said.

Program Manager Dolores Verbonitz explained, ex-cons have so many barriers to overcome after they've been released from prison.

"If we are not putting resources into diversion programs and reentry programs, we're going to be putting more money into prisons," Verbonitz said.

Since the center opened in October, 110 people have enrolled. Nearly half have found jobs, including Anthony Wiley.

"I feel like this program is a big help for people who take it and utilize it, because these people care and they go out their way to make sure they get you a job," Wiley said.

He's even found his own place to live, which is something he hasn't had in more than a decade.

"Everybody has made a mistake, so everybody deserves a second chance," Wiley said.

Wiley and others in the program get to work with counselors for one year.

Special Features

Community Calendar

Find out what's going on around town and submit events!

Share

See it! Shoot it! Send it! Share your weather pics and videos with NewsOn6.com!

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

Mobile Alerts

Get breaking news, headlines, weather alerts & more on your cell phone.

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive
Powered by WorldNow
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
TULSA'S OWN TM
GREEN COUNTRY'S OWN TM
Oklahoma's Own Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state including Tulsa's Own and Green Country's Own.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014, WorldNow and KOTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.