INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis police and the Indiana Department of Correction teamed up to create a new program to keep high-risk parolees on track.
Every year about 5,000 ex-offenders are released from prison back to the streets of Indianapolis. Some ex-offenders said that without the right resources, it’s easy to go back to a life of crime.
INPACT links ex-offenders to officers who then link them to services like housing, jobs and transportation.
The officers link the parolees to the programs they would otherwise have to seek out themselves. Participants said that reduces the frustration experienced by many who are released for the first time in years.
"There are many statistics out there that show the likelihood of them going back to prison is pretty substantial," Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Mark Wood said.
INPACT leaders said early numbers show that convicted murderers, robbers and thieves mandated to take part in the program are less likely to go back to prison.
"We’re having an impact on crime and more importantly were having an impact on people's individual lives, making them successful so they don't go back to prison, and that filters out to their families, kids, their loved ones and the community," Wood said.
George Cowen, 59, spent 30 years locked away in Indiana prisons. He said he shot an officer during a robbery.
The DOC has paroled him for the third time, but he said this time is different. Cowen said he has a new outlook and the new program is helping to keep him on track.
"They're there, it's like a mentor. You know I'm about 60 years old, I'm talking about a mentor, but I had a child mentality and it's like a father image to me because they're concerned," Cowen said.
Cowen said he is no longer angry after losing his parents as a kid and that INPACT works for people who are ready to make a change.