A new state program is working to help ex-cons improve their chances of having a successful life outside prison walls.
The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles has opened a new facility in Huntsville. It focuses on improving communities by helping people on parole and probation.
At the Huntsville Day Reporting Center, the main goal is to help high-risk former inmates develop a positive path forward.
Opened only since February, the new center already has success stories. "I earned my GED since I got here,” Ted Burruss told WAAY 31. “I got my OSHA license. I learned how to drive a forklift and backhoe."
On the outside, Burruss also learned the ins and outs of operating a computer. That’s something he never tried before.
This open house gave folks a chance to celebrate optimism.
Huntsville's Day Reporting Center offers education, employment training and a real alternative to cycling participants back through the prison system.
"That's the ultimate goal,” Darrell Morgan told us. Morgan is an assistant director of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. “The goal always is reduction in recidivism. Keeping people out, giving them the skills they need not only to become successful in society, but become productive members of society, pay their taxes, be good parents, kind of reintegrate themselves and actually mentor others."
"It has been a life changer," Ted Burruss said. He’s thankful for Huntsville's Day Reporting Center. And he appreciates how it could change his life for good.
"It is scary sometime. But, I know what I've got to do: stay involved and stay positive with my life."