INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The controversy surrounding Michael Vick's reinstatement to theNFL has focused attention on efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders.Tony Dungy appeared with Vick at a press conference Friday andpraised an Indianapolis offender re-entry program.
Michael Collier, 38, has not one, but two jobs. He drives atruck for DPW and works as a barber, a skill he learned whileimprisoned for 10 years.
"[I] try to educate myself and most importantly try to allowmyself the opportunity to be rehabilitated," Collier said.
He's determined to make the most of his second chance, a secondchance that many ex-offenders complain is hard to come by.
"I try to show no weaknesses, try to be at work everyday ontime, early and try to be as punctual as possible,” hesaid.
Advocates tout success stories like Collier's when promotingprograms like Mayor Ballard's ex-offender reentry program, the sameprogram Dungy endorsed Friday.
The mayor's program advocates employment of ex-offenders andhosts job fairs. Michael Ludy, a man convicted of robbery fourtimes, was at one of those fairs in August of last year.
"By me having that many robberies, you know, didn't nobody wantto hire me like because he had four chances and didn't do the rightthing," Ludy said.
Ludy said he was sincere about his conviction to live a newlife. But a year later, Ludy was indeed convicted -- back to thedepartment of corrections.
Ludy's story is not unique. Of the 5,000 ex-offendersreleased into Marion County every year, 74 percent will commitanother crime within three years. That's 3,700 repeatcriminals.
But Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams believes in the mayor's re-entryprogram because an ex-offender with a job is an ex-offender threetimes less likely to commit another crime.
"Given the chance, most guys and women will do the rightthing because they don't want to go back to jail," Williamssaid.
Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams is an ex-offender, and he said he'sliving proof that success is possible after incarceration.
Mayor Ballard says because 5,000 ex-offenders come back toMarion County every year, helping find them employment is ineveryone's best interest.
Officials say one person was taken to a local hospital in serious condition Monday afternoon after being hit by a car while walking along an Indianapolis street.
Police dispatch says a semi rolled over on Interstate 65 north near the 135 mile marker in Boone County.
Hundreds of workers at Lebanon's largest employer reported back to work less than a month after their company took a direct hit by an EF-2 tornado.