Special program helping former inmates get their lives on track

April 27, 2016 5:19 PM By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — No one wants to go to prison. But once they’re out, what’s to keep former inmates from going right back to the lives they had before?

For many, an intense reentry program can be the key to a new life.

It’s graduation day! Program director Lisa Zimmerman hands out certificates of achievement, at the Allegheny County Reentry Service Center in Oakland. The Center uses behavior therapy to ease former inmates back into society.

“It’s just getting to know us, and knowing that we have hope for them,” Lisa Zimmerman says. “Once they realize that, it’s really just going forward. That’s our whole goal is to just continue forward.”

The Reentry Center teaches life skills and career development, to help people on parole find jobs.

Charles Cutrary says he learned that acting on impulse has a price.

“It teaches you to think, before you actually do,” he said. “And actually think about the consequences.”

Filicia Jackson says the program kept her out of prison.

“It kept me out of trouble, from going back. So that’s one thing. Because I knew I had to make it here, or I’m immediately going back,” Jackson said.

No one there would disagree.

When asked if he’s ever going back to jail, Charles Cutrary’s answer was emphatic: “Oh no, no, no!”

Click here to view the full story from CBS Pittsburgh.