Church program aims to help non-violent offenders turn their lives around

Memphis, Tenn. — People getting out of prison and looking to change their lives often have few options on where to turn for help. Non-violent offenders coming back to Memphis will have a new home as a church is hoping to turn their lives around.

It’s inside one of the rooms at the Temple Church of God in Christ that, for now, healing is taking place.

It’s where the Final Escape Program is being run by its director, Yvonne Williams, who has worked in prison ministry for 30 years.

“I’ve seen how lives can change with a little help,” said Williams.

The Final Escape Program formalizes curriculum that Williams is already teaching to people behind bars virtually. Once their sentences are complete, non-violent offenders can come to the Final Escape Program, built into the church, where they are given access to clothing, food, and mentoring.

All of it to help keep them from returning to prison.

“We begin to install in them conflict resolution anger management and those kinds of things,” said Williams.

Saturday the official ribbon-cutting was held.

“They need constructive support, support through love and an educational means,” said Bishop David Allen Hall.

The coordinators said they will continue to work with incarcerated individuals while behind bars to deliver their program, and then when those people get out, they will continue working with them, as well.

Their next class starts in June, they said.

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