Parolee defends halfway homes - WNEM TV 5

Parolee defends halfway homes

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Brent Hecht Brent Hecht

Brent Hecht has been out of prison for four months. He lives in transitional housing for ex-cons. 

Hecht said parolees deserve a second chance even if they are your neighbor.

"It considerably bothers me," he says.

Hecht is a special needs parolee who lives in housing provided by the Michigan Department of Corrections. He realizes many people cringe when they learn a former prisoner lives next door.

"We are coming to the point where we want to close our doors when it comes to in need," he explained.

Hecht admits that the rate of recidivism is high but said there are many other trying to live an honest life - like himself.

"We have to look at both sides of the coin," Hecht said.

Hecht said he felt compelled to speak out after our extensive coverage of a proposed halfway home in Bay City. Neighbors protested the idea when they learned about the plan. Eventually, MDOC scraped plans for that home.

"But I understand people's frustration," Hecht said in response.

In the end, Hecht fears that denying parolees housing will lead to far worse conditions.

"I'd be homeless along with many other individuals ... we'd be in the homeless shelters. They would be overcrowded ... there would be people in the streets - they would be people living under bridges, there would be more people begging."

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