A Mississippi organization that helps those who have been incarcerated reenter society is getting an infusion of funding to expand their services. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Donta Brooks is from Detroit Michigan. He served nearly six years in the federal corrections facility in Yazoo City, Mississippi. When Brooks was released, he says he didn't know where to turn.
"I was just trying to get some housing. I didn't have any housing. I didn't have any family. I didn't have anywhere I could go. I was trying to look for housing. I was trying to look for a vehicle so I could get around," said Brooks.
Brooks took part in a reentry program at Mississippi Community Education Center. Donte Jones works at the center. He says they work with those incarcerated in county jails and state prisons and after they're released.
"We do life skills. We do parenting skills. We do anger management. We do referrals for education programs and once those individuals get out we leave them with the referrals so they can come to our center and pick-up those services," said Jones.
Brooks is back in Detroit. He's working and says he has his own home. Now the U.S. Department of Labor is awarding the agency a $1.5 million dollar grant for a new reentry program that will expand their services. Program Director Steve Pickering says specialized staff will create individualized plans to help former offenders get on their feet.
"Finding a place to stay, doing the resume writing, applications, identifying transportation, all of these are a lot of things we take for granted, but these individuals face these barriers everyday," said Pickering.
Pickering says they have three months to plan the program. He says the three year grant will help 188 former offenders.