Imagine being free for the first time in months, or even years. One local group is helping those with a criminal history adjust to their new lives.
For 4 out of 10 people with a criminal past… old habits die hard. And after being released from jail, it's only a matter of time before another arrest and jail sentence.
Willie Glanton says that for him, this time will be different. "I usually get out with the mentality like, I'm gonna get it- I'm gonna get this money," he says. "So I come back in the same mind frame of selling drugs again. But this time I'm trying to go a different route- ain't no going back this time"
Now, he's not alone. The Keener Foundation in Dothan is working to help ex-offenders overcome the obstacles that come with new-found freedom.
Executive Director Lawrence Keener explains. "Individuals that are in confinement are transitioned out of confinement. We either prepare them for a free world or we help them to make a successful transition when they get out of any form of confinement." That transition starts with finding a job.
"We help them to market themselves by workplace etiquette like how to talk, how to write a resume. We help them in a lot of ways," he says.
Keener started the foundation. He knows what it takes for ex-offenders to truly be free because he has walked in their shoes.
"This is a result of what happened to me 20 years ago," Keener says. "I've been free of incarceration and confinement for 20 years because of some of the second chance support opportunities that's been afforded me."
Now he's passing those opportunities on to others and motivating them to rise above statistics.
"You don't have to do what your dad did, what your uncle did, you don't have to be what society says you are," says Keener.
For info on how you can get involved with the keener foundation, you can visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thekeenerfoundation.
The Keener Foundation has been up and running since April. Keener says the group can always use donations and volunteers.