LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Transitioning from a prison cell back into society can be difficult for some people. But, several organizations in central Arkansas teamed up to make the process a little bit smoother.
Several organizations honored Martin Luther King Jr. weekend by helping others through a program called Rights After Wrongs. It's aimed to help people who have been incarcerated turn their life around.
Organizers said Rights After Wrongs is one day of service, but offers a lifetime of change.
Little Rock's Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission partners with 45 organizations to help people who are returning from incarceration to transition back into society.
“I think says a lot about those people who are returning back from incarceration, they want the help,” Central Arkansas Re-entry Coalition Chairman Leta Anthony said.
This is the third year the event's been held and over 500 people attended.
Amanda Ham was one of the hundreds of people seeking assistance at the event.
“I just think this is awesome because it helps people find out about programs. I didn’t know Americans for Prosperity was going to be here," Ham said. "They do a lot of work with us. I’m actually in a transitional living facility, and they have done a lot of stuff for us.”
The event showcases services like free job assistance, legal consolations, and help with sealing criminal records.
“If they can do those expungements and get their right to vote back, then they can participate and be a model citizen,” Pulaski Circuit County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth said.
Organizers said providing a little bit of guidance can help someone get on the right path.
“Arkansas has a 56 percent recidivism rate, that means more than half of the people who come home are back in prison within a three-year time frame. So, one of the reasons we know that people go back is because they’re not able to connect with services,” Anthony said.
At the event, guests can also attend leniency court and get free health screenings.
Ultimately, organizers said the event is designed to help keep communities safe.
“If public safety is really going to be something that we give solutions to if people are working if people have an opportunity to be successful we’ll see that crime rate go down and our communities will be safe," Anthony said. "And these individuals become contributors to our community.”
Organizers said around 200 more people attended the event when compared to last year’s.
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