Statewide database aims to help ex-convicts re-enter society

Posted at 6:25 PM, Dec 22, 2016

It's a dangerous cycle nationwide as people are convicted and serve their sentence, but after being released have nowhere to turn and no idea about what support is out there.

That's the reality for thousands of people in Maryland.

"It was difficult to locate reentry resources, there was no central repository of programs throughout the state of Maryland, no place you could go to find all programs that were available," said U.S. Attorney for Maryland, Rod Rosenstein.

This week, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced its taken steps to fix that, and launched a comprehensive database broken down by county. There's 1,350 listings of services and help available for former offenders.

"Those include housing, counseling, drug abuse treatment, job training, job placement, and a variety of other resources that are necessary and important for returning citizens," Rosenstein said.          

Earl's Place in the city is a perfect example. Since 1997, the transitional housing program has helped hundreds of men get back on their feet.

Renard Noble now works as a resident manager, but just a few years ago he was a resident at Earl's Place, trying to change his life around.

"We all working on one thing, to better our lives, you know, because addiction, man, you coming from addiction and want to change it's a hard thing to do and it takes a lot of patience, you know some of us make it and some don’t," Renard said.

He was locked up a handful of times for selling drugs, but got tired of his addiction to heroin and life on the streets.  Renard said many ex-cons come out with no direction or assistance, and without programs like Earl's Place, he would not be one of the success stories.

"It's nothing but a revolving door for us because we gonna go back to our street like, because our mentality, if we don't get the help we need is to go back and do what we do," Renard said.

Earl's Place currently has a waiting list, but plenty of other programs do have room and can connect folks with opportunities.

Download the ABC2 News app for the iPhone, Kindle and Android.