I've had a string of good-news messages from guys who've been in the game and got out.
A heroin addict/dealer who called here last summer got himself in residential treatment, then found a job with a property management company and - this is the good part - still has it. "Becoming employed in August has meant everything," he wrote in a recent e-mail. "Obviously, if I made no efforts of my own there would be nothing anyone could do. I just need you to know I truly appreciate everyone's effort and concern. I'm checking in just to let you know all's well ... "
Here's another note from an ex-offender:
"I finally found employment with a Fortune 500 company. I was shocked that they hired me, but they only went back [in criminal record search] seven years, and I have been 16 years crime-free, no convictions. So please tell your readers: NEVER GIVE UP."
Several men who volunteered, through The Sun, to serve as mentors for ex-offenders report that they've made the connections, established relationships and found the experience rewarding. Some have helped ex-offenders land jobs. Some can't get enough and asked to extend their mentoring to others. Only a few say they've lost contact with the men or women we assigned to them over the fall and winter. If you are an ex-offender looking for help in landing work, or would like a mentor to work with you, call 410-332-6166, or ...
... you might want to register for the Jericho Prisoner Re-entry Initiative. This faith-based training program, funded with federal dollars, serves men who are within six months of their last incarceration. Only nonviolent offenders allowed. Jericho has 50 jobs (laborers, warehouse and maintenance workers) that pay $8 to $10 a hour. Recruitment will take place Thursday, starting at 10 a.m., at the city's Re-entry Center in Mondawmin Mall. For more information on the training please call: 410-522-3293.