Houston Health Department

Houston Health Department program offering Ex-Offenders Second Chance celebrating 20th Biannual graduation


Dec. 13, 2018

HOUSTON – The lure of fast money led Morris Young to a revolving door of incarceration. Following his third stint behind bars for drug-related charges, Morris decided to leave his old lifestyle behind and find a way to support his family the honest and legal way.

“I haven’t always applied the gifts I have,” Morris said. “I took the lazy approach.”

Morris is among the 20th biannual class to graduate the Houston Health Department (HHD) Community Re-Entry Network Program (CRNP). The program helps ex-offenders transition into productive, contributing members of society.

“The program gave me an opportunity to apply certain principles to my life, as opposed to just theoretically,” Morris said. “It keeps me more grounded.”

The 6-week program supports ex-offenders by identifying physical and behavioral health needs. CRNP provides life skills courses, job readiness training, peer support groups, family reunification assistance, anger management, counseling, case management, and linkage to additional resources and services.

Recidivism, the rate at which ex-offenders relapse into criminal behavior, is currently zero among this class while the average rate in Texas is approximately 23 percent. Re-entry programs save taxpayers millions of dollars that would otherwise be spent on the cost of re-incarceration.

“This program has become a beacon of hope for so many,” said LaTosha Selexman, CRNP division manager. “Our staff, local employers, community groups, family and friends work together to support program participants in successfully reintegrating into the Houston-area community.”

While participating in the program, Morris gained employment with the City of Houston General Services Department. The department is a long-time supporter of CRNP, employing several graduates over the past decade.

Of the 94 graduates in the December 2018 class, about 65 percent are either employed or have enrolled in or completed an educational or vocational training program.

“Now I have a chance to be with my kids and get more active in a faith-based lifestyle,” Morris said. “I need to be that man my daughter would marry. I need to show my son how to be the kind of father who can keep his family safe and at peace.”

CRNP enrolls about 500-600 participates annually. It’s estimated that as many as 15,000 ex-offenders are released from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice into Harris County each year.

“Many program graduates have been able to move forward with their lives,” Selexman continued. “We take pride in celebrating the accomplishments of these individuals.”

For more information about CRNP, contact 832-393-5467 or hdhhs-reentry@houstontx.gov.

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MEDIA NOTE:
Media is welcome to the graduation ceremony for video/photography and interview opportunities.
WHEN: Dec. 13, 2018 | Ceremony starts at 1 p.m.
WHERE: Kashmere Multi-Service Center - 4802 Lockwood Drive, Houston
WHO: Master of Ceremony Senator John Whitmire | Keynote Speaker Bishop James W.E. Dixon II