Programs Work To Help Oklahoma Prisoners With Commuted Sentences

Monday, November 4th 2019, 7:44 pm
By: Amy Avery

Many of these men and women getting out of Oklahoma prisons are starting over but there are a lot of programs help former convicted felons find jobs and housing.

But as these men and women are getting out, law enforcement agencies hope they will take advantage of these programs instead of heading back to the life they’ve always known.

"They teach you a new way of life,” said Thereasa Fisher.

Thereasa Fisher just got out of Kate Barnard Correctional Facility three months ago.

She served 14 months for drug crimes.

Take 2 only takes 6 people every six months for their program, and Fisher says it's changed her life.

"You get out, you have a job, you start straight to work, you live upstairs and it's beautiful,” said Fisher.

Take 2 is run by a non-profit organization called Resonance Center for Women.

In addition to providing them with a job and a sober place to live, the organization helps with college classes, therapy and even helps them start a savings account.

"We make sure everyone here knows just because you have a past, doesn’t mean you can’t have a future so we want them to see that future, own that future and keep moving forward toward that future,” said Manager of Take 2, Lia Lewis.

There are a lot of programs like this across the state who are working to help the hundreds of prisoners leaving Oklahoma prisons today.

This comes after voters approved a state question that made low level drug and property crimes misdemeanors instead of felonies, then the state legislature made that law retroactive, to include people who were convicted before the state question passed.

"These people are human beings just like you and me,” said Sand Springs Police Captain Todd Enzbrenner. “They're mothers, brothers, daughters, sons, aunts and uncles and there are people that love them and they deserve a second chance just like anybody."

Captain Enzbrenner says it’s difficult to tell what impact this will have on the state because you don’t want to pre-judge those coming out of prison. He just hopes those getting out earlier, will take advantage of programs like this.

"We hope most of them if not all of them take this opportunity to change and turn their lives around and do something positive with them,” said Enzbrenner.

Because a second chance could make all the difference.

“It's given me more than just a new start,” said Fisher. “I didn't have any hope before, I didn't care, but I do now."

All of the proceeds from the food they sell goes directly back to the program, or you can help by donating to the non-profit, Resonance Center for Women.

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