New re-entry center offers second chance for convicted felons - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New re-entry center offers second chance for convicted felons

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

A new re-entry center in South Memphis could bring second chances for convicted felons.

Area mayors, ministers and staff members for the center attended the ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday.  Organizers showed how the new Office of Re-entry hub will help convicted felons get work, education and counseling so that they do not become repeat offenders and go back to jail.

"My being a felon, a lot of times I go looking for jobs, they do turn me down based on my background," said ex-convict Jarquaz Kizer.

"The work actually starts when they come out," added Memphis and Shelby County Office of Re-entry Executive Director Phyllis Flickering. "Now, this is one of those things where it actually takes a village and we have a lot of great agencies that have been doing this work for a long time."

Managers added that by moving the program from downtown Memphis to South Memphis, they hope the agency will reach more people.

"We will not solve crime by just building prisons and hiring police officers," said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

The re-entry center will provide health screenings through a partnership with Baptist Memorial Hospital and Christ Community Health Services and resources to help felons repair relationships with their families, look for housing and find transportation.

"All of these are issues," Luttrell added. "If we are going to truly combat crime, we must combat each of those issues."

Many ex-offenders see the program as a pathway to success.

"This program has helped me a lot, as far as changing my direction in life and which way I am going to go," Kizer said.

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