Program helps recently released inmates with employment - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Program helps recently released inmates with employment

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Crime scenes like the one on Taylor Street from Monday evening are the ones Robin Ebert is trying to prevent.

Ebert is working with a new program in Richland County that starts prepping inmates for work 90 days before they are released. Right now, it's only offered in three cities in the southeast.

"We work with them on things like are they going to have a stable place to live, are they going to need assistance, are they going to need substance abuse support?" said Ebert.

Ebert says after getting out of prison or jail, it's easy for a felon to go back to the means they are used to as opposed to making a clean living. Not only do they have criminal records, they don't have current job histories and some who've been in for a while may not know how to fill out an application online.

Ebert says her program is working. She just spoke with a newly-released inmate who walks 2.5 hours each way to his new job.

"He came in, and he was so proud of himself and told us he was able to pay his rent, the whole thing at one time for the first time in he couldn't remember how long," said Ebert.

Ebert says the first days after release are critical, but there's hope for a new kind of life on the outside.

"We just want them to know there are options out there, people are willing to invest time and effort into helping them find employment and to support their families," said Ebert.

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