Ex-prisoners in Mississippi now have a new source to help them successfully transition back into the community.
"Every door was being closed and like you said ex-offender, it was like a disease or something."
That's Cleveland Rencher an ex-offender who was incarcerated at the Mississippi State Penitentiary for two armed robberies in 1992. Rencher's sentence was for 50 years and he was required to serve 20 years of his time. He completed the sentence in 2013 and now works full-time. Rencher said additional resources are needed to help ex-prisoners re-enter society.
"It won't close so many doors it will open some doors up for me, so I can be able to walk through," Rencher said. "Guys getting out of prison, they are not getting out with their GED's they are not getting out with any kind of educational skills. I think that it will really help guys out."
Statistics show, in Mississippi approximately one-third of ex-offenders return to prison within three years of release.
Justin Burch with the Foundation for the Mid South said a nearly 200 page guide was produced. It's designed to help ex-offenders find services they need, such as employment, healthcare and educational opportunities.
"We really wanted to make sure that they had the resources they need to rapidly reattach back to work," Burch said. "That way we have successful outcomes and then returning to their communities they become working and productive law abiding citizens again."
Burch said his organization has given a $100,000 grant to New Way Mississippi, a non-profit program located in Clinton. It provides services to help people get back on their feet. The grant will assist in creating a workforce development center for the program.