Gan Matthews, News 9
NORMAN, Oklahoma -- A new program in Cleveland County is helping female felons get their lives back on track once they leave jail.
The Second Chance program is designed to get female offenders back to work. Since 2003, there has been a two-thirds increase in the number of women being booked into the Cleveland County jail. Sheriff Joe Lester thought an intervention program focused on job skills at this level of incarceration might cut down on the numbers of women going to prison.
The director of the program, Rock Richardson, said Second Chance helps felons get a fresh start.
"This program is basically designed to look at employment, job fit, getting them vocational skill building," Richardson said.
The program offers classes in job hunting and resume writing, and also puts female offenders in contact with other women in the Second Chance program. Kierston, a 22-year-old mother who spent some time in jail, said the program has helped her take charge of her life.
"You have to make yourself better by getting the skills and the contacts to move forward and get gainful employment," Kierston said.
The program is funded through a grant from the U.S. Justice Department.