Actions

Re-entry program changing lives of formerly incarcerated men

Faith-based re-entry program changing lives
Posted at 5:41 AM, Sep 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-05 06:41:14-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - — "A lot of people don't realize the hurt and pain that they have in their lives, there's a way out of that and it doesn't have to be prison, unfortunately for me that's what it took," Thomas Jones said.

After years of battling personal demons and longing to change, Thomas Jones says he'd had enough.

"A person has to decide when enough is enough," he said.

Jones served 10 years in prison for sexual assault.

He says after he got out, his future was uncertain.

"Getting out and not knowing what's going to happen the next day can be very scary for somebody," Jones said.

He joined a prison re-entry program when he was still inside the Lincoln Correctional Facility but it was discontinued.

Thanks to a friend, he met Cheri Rosenberry.

"They have no place to go, they don't have any support," Rosenberry said. "They go back to their old ways, their old friends, get into trouble and end up back in--support is so crucial."'

In an effort the help with the growing population of prison inmates in Nebraska, Rosenberry works to help men restart their lives.

She created Bridgeway Nebraska, (a faith-based re-entry program) nine years ago. The first men's home open 4 years ago, during a time when Jones needed it most.

"It's a place to relax," Rosenberry said. "When they were in prison they were around so many people, chaos all over (the prisons are overcrowded) they're about 167% overcrowded right now so they're trying to get as many out as they possibly can."

Jones tells us Bridgeway changed his life.

"I had people that I never thought I ever would see again or would ever talk to again," he said. "They've come back into my life and they love me ... and that means so much."

The men must live in the home for six months to complete the program.

Rosenberry takes some current inmates to church on Sundays.

Once the men begin the program, Rosenberry takes before and after photos from the day they arrived, to their final day six months later.

"It's amazing to watch how much they've grown," she said." And how much they're willing to give back and willing to serve."

Jones says he's grateful for his transformation, as well as finding his faith.

He's now married and runs his own business.

"Programs like this are awesome and they help people move forward in their lives," Jones said. "But when it comes down to it it's the individuals choice that they have to make a change, they have to not wanna be where they came from."

Rosenberry says she hopes to find more resources so she can open additional homes, and help men get out of overcrowded prisons.

"You know we're all sinners, we all make wrong choices some of us didn't get caught .. they did," she said.

You learn more about Bridgeway Nebraska at, https://bridgewaynebraska.org/