The program is in its third year and provides parolees with the resources they need to succeed outside.
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Rehabilitation is a stressful process for those formally incarcerated due to lack of support.
However, the Pulaski County detention facility has a re-entry program to help these people regain their connection to society.
The program is entering its third year.
“People who are incarcerated do not have the daily skills needed to get out,” said Kathy McConnell, director of prison re-entry programs.
When it’s time to re-enter the free world, McConnell wants to make sure you have the resources you need to succeed.
McConnell said he would start by making sure each inmate interested in the program has a high school diploma or GED.
“If they don’t have a GED, I’ll immediately enroll them in the GED classes available in prison,” McConnell said.
From there, students are required to complete 200 hours of classes focused on life skills, budget management, and parenting. The program contains a 12-step program.
Many incarcerated also have drug addiction problems, McConnell said. When McConnell’s youngest son died after a 19-year battle with opioids and ultimately fentanyl, it’s a poignant subject for her.
“Hell goes to hell not only for people with addiction issues, but for their families,” McConnell said. “So does everyone who loves them.”
So the program also focuses on keeping up with people released from prison.
“We can now order housing, and we can also provide some job skills to people who need drug rehabilitation while in the hospital,” McConnell said. .
Currently, 120 men and women are enrolled in the re-entry program, and the capacity is full.
McConnell said re-entry efforts have resulted in prison recidivism rates of 17%. She also said there has been growing interest in the program among inmates across the facility.
“Many people are tired of repeating the same cycle over and over,” McConnell says. “They want help.”
The program will resume on January 4th.
McConnell also said that through a partnership with UAMS, those released will receive three months of free drug therapy.