Ex Prisoners Face Uphill Battle in Becoming Contributing Members of Society

Helping men and women deal with life after incarceration is the focus of a Houston summit presented by the Harvest Life Foundation. Houston Public Radio's Pat Hernandez says the organization hopes to remove the stigma associated with prisoner reentry.

The Harvest Life Foundation is an agency that provides services to men and women who are formerly incarcerated in the form of housing, workforce development and everything in between. President Melanie Wilcox Miles says Houston is not unique to the nationwide problem of prisoner reentry.

"Everyone feels that there's a need for us to really address these issues around men and women that are returning to our community. I mean, if you have over 15,000 men and women returning just from prison, that's not including county jails, every year into the Houston community, and you don't provide them with a means for employment and decent housing and transportation to jobs, training, then what are they left with?"

Steven Williams, director of Houston's Health and Human Services Department says the summit is an excellent way to address the problem and give those formerly incarcerated the best possible chance to succeed & be contributing members of society.

"I'm hoping that a number of organizations and entities that participated in this summit will learn to pull our resources and efforts to have a more comprehensive approach to this population."

All agree that if training is not afforded to those leaving incarceration and become successful, law abiding self sufficient citizens, then those charged with providing that help are only adding to the crime problem.

Pat Hernandez, Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...