Memphis non-profit gives ex-offenders a second chance at life

Published: Aug. 8, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A non-profit organization is stepping up to help ex-offenders in Shelby County transition into life after incarceration.

It’s an effort that combines faith, family, and even a Fortune 500 company, to create a “Final Escape.”

“We serve everybody. It is not religiously based, but it comes from the church,” said Bishop David Allen Hall.” I want to make that clear because we do serve everybody, and we draw no lines with that service.”

No matter where you came from or what you’ve been through Bishop Hall hopes his new Final Escape Program will transform lives of convicted felons.

“The hope of the program is that they get out and stay out, that they would become successful. Successfully reemerged back into the family and one of the tenants is that they create their own business,” he said.

The Final Escape Program is the newest entity of Bishop Hall’s non-profit “Life Together” which has served the community for nearly 25 years.

Although the Final Escape program has been in existence for less than 6 months, it’s already helping dozens of Memphians transition into life after incarceration.

The program’s Executive Director, Yvonne Williams, gave Action News 5 a tour of the facility and explained how it works.

“They can come to our facility if they have proof of release papers and proof of residence, if available, they can come and they can receive some of the supplies that we have, clothing, food, hygiene, bus passes, those kinds of things,” Williams said.

Perhaps the most important part of the program is the 8-week curriculum designed to help ex-offenders figure out what it is that caused them to commit a crime in the first place with courses focused on anger management, conflict resolution, writing and interviewing skills.

Lessons designed to help the participant ultimately land a stable job.

“I thank God for some of the more established firms in town, such as FedEx has guaranteed and is collaborating with us that once they get into this program here and go through our program, they are going to be given jobs,” Bishop Hall said.

The program also has a family component where family members of participants take courses to learn how to better assist their loved ones as they transition.

Roy Nelson took part in the program on behalf of his nephew. He says it was life changing.

“Before you speak on something you have to go through some things yourself in life and if you don’t understand it, you can’t speak on it,” Nelson said.

So far 20 men and 8 women have graduated from the program, and organizers hope to graduate thousands more in the future.

“I hope this is a program that others can get a mimic and that we can help laughs of men and women throughout this county and even beyond that’s my desire,” Williams said.

For more information on Final Escape, click here.

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