Programs Help Inmates with a Second Chance

Lincoln, NE-- For someone who has been in jail and wants to get back into the community, maybe to find a job can be difficult. One volunteer helps those who has made mistakes get a second chance.

Ruth Karlsson's calling is to help others through a program called, Released and Restored.

"To serve the men and women who most of society would assume to throw away or ignore," said Karlsson.

She serves inmates at the Lancaster County Jail by teaching them the correct way to balance a checkbook, interview for a job, and how to be financially responsible.

"How do we learned to make a reasoned response to a situation versus that rash reaction," said Karlsson.

She says the way inmates react can make or break their progress in class.

"It's one thing to obtain..but another to maintain and keep that job," said Karlsson.

Brenda Fisher, the jail's program director says that minimal custody inmates at the jail serve an average of 17-days sentencing.
Released and Restored is only one of nine programs, with each having a goal.

"The objective of the program is to give inmates every opportunity to get accustomed, for example, to a 12-step program so they understand what a 12-step program looks like, sounds like, and how it works--in the hopes that they will then be more likely to seek that out in the community," said Fisher.

As for Ruth, she says when inmates first come to class, they think they have nothing to offer, but at the end of four weeks things begin to change.

"They feel much more confident. having gone through that--so they're not intimidated when they go out there in the real world and apply for that job," said Karlsson.

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