Conference helps organizations improve services for ex-offenders

INDIANAPOLIS -- A local conference is providing resources to organizations who help ex-offenders get back on their feet and find jobs in the hopes of keeping them out of prison.

The Marion County Reentry Coalition hosted a forum on Tuesday with nearly 175 nonprofits and service faith-based service providers attending. Horizon House, which attended the conference, is one of few homeless shelters who work with ex-offenders to try and help them get back on their feet. Nearly 50 percent of their clients are ex-offenders.

Every year 5,000 – 8,000 ex-offenders return to live in Marion County. Of those, 51 percent will end up back in prison within three years.

Damon lane, 43, is one of those ex-offenders. He served five years in prison for dealing drugs 20 years ago. Now, he’s helping ex-offenders like him.

“If I was always looked at as a crime, I wouldn’t be sitting before you today with the mayor’s office,” said Lane.

Edward Ball is another example of perseverance paying off. Ball spent 14 years in prison for a variety of felonies. Now, he works for Goodwill as a store manager.

“Those guys I left in prison will see me and will say there are possibilities out there,” said Ball. “I see Ed doing it. I know there’s home.”

So far this year the Horizon House has helped 1,000 ex-offenders find jobs and get back on their feet. 

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