Former inmates getting a second chance - WNEM TV 5

Former inmates getting a second chance

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Former prisoners have a new chance at life thanks to a local project aimed at helping them re-integrate back into society.

"It’s all about raising awareness, access, and collaboration," said Joseph King.

King is an Ezekiel Project member and knows all too well the challenges former inmates face. He got out of prison 13 years ago. 

"My family was there for me so that helped, but the most important thing that got me through was having a plan," King said.

Because of King's past experience, he wanted to make sure other people have the tools necessary to ensure a brighter future. 

The Ezekiel Project, Saginaw Max System of Care, and The East Side Soup Kitchen teamed up to host this event. It aims to connect people returning to the public, with resources.

The project focuses on housing, jobs, and education. Former Saginaw Mayor Joyce Seals says they are hoping to make sure former inmates never go back into the system. 

"It's a barrier because people come out of prison and what happens is 50 percent return rate. People do not know about all the resources. They don’t have the assistance or clear opportunity. We are here to make sure we can remove all of the barriers, so they can succeed," Seals said.

Dalia Smith with LLEAD Saginaw came to educate and connect employers and new job seekers. 

"We are trying to work with employers that are interested in these candidates and we are working with organizations that already employed individuals who were previously incarcerated. We want there to be a learning continuum," Smith said.

By helping to restore peoples lives, King believes, the Mid-Michigan area will be safer and stronger. 

"They can take advantage of these resources and they can make it, but it’s not always easy," King said.

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