Local organization helping spread awareness to reduce recidivism rate

COLUMBUS, Miss.(WCBI) – According to the National Institute of Justice, almost 44 percent of criminals released return before the first year out of prison.

And one local organization is helping to provide support and job training to reduce recidivism.

“If you look up the meaning of Parole, It means to lay down your arms of war and pick up another means living, and pride does mean where your hulky it has another meaning to it means your civic duty.”

Paroled to Pride Founder and Executive Director Sharon Jones says her mission became clear after the tragic death of her brother, who lost his life in custody at the hands of a correctional officer.

“Get healed of the hurt and the pain and anger of the judicial system, the anger of not having the resources in our community that are so much needed. Then I found myself that I was available for God to use to help somebody and guided me in the right direction,” Jones said.

Now Jones wants to spread a larger message with “A Day of Connections and Community” May 19, where she, local officials, and panelists will discuss…

“How to better engage within their communities with each other better engage with law enforcement,” Jones said.

Jones says everyone, even those who may have had run-ins with the law, is welcome.

“I heard things like they don’t want any help and they are going to be back where they started, but I was like, you didn’t even give them a chance, ” Jones said.

And Anna Brooks, who spent time in the Mississippi Corrections facility, says she is one who needed that new chance.

“Once you run my name, my social security number, my background, it’s like everything sounds good until they get a report that you are a convicted felon,” Brooks said.

Once Brooks entered the Paroled to Pride program, she says her life changed for the better.

“She gave me a job; she introduced me to the hospitality industry and gave me a lot of training and skills,” Brooks.

Today, Brooks has reconnected with her family, is married, and is a successful business owner remembering Jones” advice.

“Don’t let nobody stop you, and don’t stop yourself,” Jones said.

A Day of Connection and Community will be held on May 19, 2023, at The Southern in Columbus starting at 10:00 am.

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