Nearly 100 prisoners got a helping hand today to help them integrate back into society when they’re released early as part of a new transition program started by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
Tana Hackley, an inmate at Eddie Warrior Correction Facility says she lost everything when her drug addiction put her in prison. She says this program will help keep her from coming back.
"I've always wanted to go to college, now I can do that,” says Hackley
Hackley was one of many smiling from ear to ear today.
Not just because she'll be released from prison soon, but because she's getting help.
"It is one thing to actually release the inmates to the streets,” says Scott Crow, Director of Oklahoma DOC. “It is another thing to actually provide them the resources to never return to DOC, and for them to become productive citizens."
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections started these transition fairs.
The DOC partners with non-profits from around the state to provide resources such as housing assistance, drug rehab and mental illness programs, as well as employment help.
"When you come to prison you lose everything,” says Hackley. “We don't have homes, we don't have clothes, we don't have the little things. We take advantage of them on the outside."
Crow tells me the goal is to give prisoners here at the Eddie Warrior Correction Facility, and others around the state, a true fresh start.
"When they are released they have to have a place to go,” says Crow. “Sometimes returning to their original homes or original environments is not productive. They need to stay away from those environments."
Hackley says the thought of the outside world is scary.
She knows how she got here, and wants to make sure she doesn't come back.
"This takes a lot of the fear away because now we know there are people there can help us,” says Hackley. Some of us don't have family to help us. These resources are very very good. I feeI special and I feel like there is hope for me now when there wasn't before."
Oklahoma D-O-C says they plan to have these transition fairs at most of the correctional facilities across the state.