Houston County Community Corrections Work Release Program

Overcrowded prisons are a problem for the state of Alabama and so are repeat offenders. But, there is a program here in Dothan that's trying to help empty the prison beds and also give inmates a second chance.

News 4’s Inga Oberst went to the Houston County Community Corrections where inmates are doing more than paying their debt to society.

Over the last nine years, 24-year-old Allen Godwin been behind bars for everything from burglary to robbery and drugs and he says he finally hit rock bottom.

Godwin says, "I realized that I have nothing, that I was going no where."

Now Godwin’s going places, thanks to the Houston County Community Corrections Work Release Program. He’s holding down two fulltime jobs and taking computer classes. He returns to a cell at night to sleep.

Paul Snow is his boss at Po-Folks and says this about Godwin, “Always dependable, always on time and is really showing through his actions he wants to be in a different place than he is."

Godwin had to convince the work release program to take him and now they're glad they did.

Godwin’s father, Hawk Godwin, who had been heartbroken for so many years says now couldn't be prouder.

He says, "He’s making long range plans now, he's making plans about his child. Before it was just day-to-day kind of a thing with him, now it's long-range stuff. So I think he's going to do a lot better."

Godwin says he won't let his father, his son or himself down again.

Godwin becomes a free man again in October. With the people skills he's learning...he says he's thinking about becoming a licensed practical nurse.

About 83 inmates are currently taking part in the two-year-old, in-house work release program. Houston County Community Corrections also oversee another 150 people who are on probation.