Prisoners Get A Second Chance At Life - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Prisoners get second chance at life

Prisoners Get A Second Chance At Life

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People coming out of prison are being given a second chance at life thanks to a program through the mental health association. The program provides recently released prisoners a place to stay, help finding employment and most importantly mental health services. Those who have gone through the program say it's life changing.

"Without the Honu House I would either be dead or back in prison, there's no doubt in my mind," said Honu Home graduate Sandra Schlotfeld.

 Schlotfeld says she owes her life to the Honu Home, which is a home operated by the Mental Health Association of Nebraska. When she was released from prison back in June she says she had nothing, "After 15 years and two months I was leaving prison with 237 dollars and nowhere to go, no clean and sober friends, no employment, absolutely nothing."

The Honu Home gave her a new chance at life. It provides recently released prisoners housing for ninety days with possible extensions. During that time residents are given support from the mental health association to deal with issues like addiction.

They're also given peer support, which is guidance from people who have been in their shoes. Program also counsels people who are currently incarcerated to give them hope for a better life.

Many of MHA's staff has been incarcerated, struggled with substance abuse, or are living with mental illness. It's something that Kevin Hand, the vocational life skills director for the department of corrections, says allows staff and residents to connect, "They understand that people who have been through their shoes and walked in their shoes are going to give the best help possible."

The peer support has been incredibly beneficial for both former and current residents.

As for Schlotfeld who once had nothing– she's taking the chance Honu Home gave her and building a new life, "I got a car, a license, a place to live, two jobs, and a sense of self worth."

The Honu Home only has five bedrooms so it's a tough program to get into; however, the mental health association says those who go through the program often return to the home to volunteer.

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