'You Can Succeed': Tulsa Woman Who Spent Years In Prison Wants To Inspire Others With Her Comeback Story

A Tulsa woman who spent nearly five years in prison for armed robbery is now out and thriving with a full-time job thanks to a program that's helped out thousands of people like her.

Tuesday, December 26th 2023, 5:19 pm



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A Tulsa woman who spent nearly five years in prison for armed robbery is now out and thriving with a full-time job.

She says she's living proof people can succeed after being incarcerated.

Tiffani Shaw says the Center For Employment Opportunities in Tulsa helped change her life, and the non-profit has now helped more than 3,000 formerly incarcerated people find jobs since 2011.

Shaw says she got in with the wrong crowd when she was Young, then got into drugs, and was in and out of the county jail more than ten times after high school until she was eventually sent to prison. But, Shaw says she made a decision in prison to change her life for the better and although it was tough, she did it.

Shaw says she is thriving and has found her calling in life. She works at Justice Link in Tulsa, where she helps people who have been arrested navigate the criminal justice system and helps people get rides to court.

But not long ago, Tiffani was one of those people needing help.

"Tiffani was, I'm sad to say, depressed; she didn't know who she was; she didn't know her worth," said Tiffani.

Tiffani was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison in 2019 for armed robbery. She says she battled drug addiction for years.

"I basically terrorized the community because of my actions and because of my behavior," said Tiffani. "When I went into prison, I knew that I wanted to change. I knew right then and there that I didn't want to continue to be that same Tiffani I was before. So I made a decision."

Tiffani says she took advantage of every program in prison and started her journey to a new life. Tiffani was released from prison nine months ago.

"Folks who are returning home from incarceration are facing many barriers. It is tough to know where to live, it's tough to find a job. We serve folks here who want to work," said Shawna Detmer with Center for Employment Opportunities in Tulsa.

Center for Employment Opportunities in Tulsa helps people recently incarcerated find jobs. CEO has a transitional work program where people can immediately get to work doing jobs for the city, TCC, and ODOT until they get placed in a full-time job. CEO helps people with training for manufacturing jobs, truck driving, and other jobs.

"This is not always easy work; sometimes it's difficult and heartbreaking work. But to see someone like Tiffani come into our program, take advantage of every opportunity that is available to her, it just makes it all worth it. We know we are here doing the right thing, for the right people, for the right community," said Detmer.

Tiffani says she's proud of herself because the road to get here hasn't been easy. She wants others to know they can get out of prison and succeed, too.

"I feel like I was led to do this. I just did the next right thing and this is where I ended and I know this is where I'm supposed to be," said Tiffani. "I just want you to believe in yourself and give yourself patience and you can succeed."

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