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The faith-based organization ACTION wants to help ex-felons transition back into society after they are released from prison.
One of those taking advantage of the program is Roy Austin, who has spent the last 25 years in prison. He was released five months ago and is now trying to re-adjust to life.
“Having my family as a base center for me. It would have been hard for me make that transition,” said Austin. “I want to do good with my life and see my life go in a positive direction.”
Austin said not everyone’s family is waiting for them after they get out of prison and that’s where he and ACTION hope to step in.
“They didn’t know about housing. They didn’t know about clothing. They didn’t know about education. Some of the things to make them responsible citizens.” said ACTION Executive Director Rose Carter.
Several churches and social organizations already offer services to help men and women getting out of prison, but ACTION wants to establish a one stop resource center to put them in touch with these groups.
“If we do not funnel them into society, whether it’s work, social contact, the churches, whatever it is, they’ll be floundering out there,” said Rev. Joseph Fata with ACTION.
Former Youngstown Municipal Judge Pat Kerrigan spent time in prison for corruption charges and he will run the re-entry program.
“They’ve paid for their crimes. They’re trying to contribute to society,” said Kerrigan. “If we don’t help them along the way a little bit, they’re gonna revert to a life of crime.”
So far, ACTION has received a $15,000 grant for the program and is hoping to find office space in downtown Youngstown.