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Life After Prison

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Hundreds of thousands of Americans are jailed each year on drug-related charges.  Once out of jail, though, many are left to their own devices to transition into mainstream society.  Many try and fail. In Hawaii, however, there’s an innovative program that’s seeing a huge success rate. 

 
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SCRIPT:

Paradise for Jack Odo had nothing to do with the beautiful beaches of Hawaii. For this drug addict, it was about money and getting high.

Jack Odo / Former Drug Addict: “I was nothing.  I wasn’t loved by anyone. I tried everything; I couldn’t find answers.”

The lifestyle landed Jack in jail, where he finally got a handle on his addiction.  Once he served his time, Odo had nowhere to go, until he was given a shot at The First LAP - Life After Prison.

Jack Odo: “I needed a more structured program to deal with my addiction and I found this program that is based on Christian principles.”

It is a United Methodist-supported program that has helped more than a hundred men like Odo transition back into society. 

Matthew Taufetee / First LAP Director: “I think the approach that we are showing these clients is love, care, respect.”

The First LAP helps the men with supervision and support finding jobs, providing transportation and conducting random drug tests.  They have to stay clean to stay in the program. Men have assigned chores at the residence and volunteer at area food banks.

Jack Odo:  “We go to substance-abuse meetings; we have chemical education; we have a psychologist that comes in once a week; we attend church services twice a week.”

There’s room for 13 men in the program now, but having demonstrated success, the program has been granted an expansion to help more than three dozen residents at a time.

Jack Odo: “The United Methodist Church, I do believe, cares about people. I feel safe here because it's a place I know I am welcome, I'm loved. Back out on the streets I was nothing.”

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The First LAP pushes residents to be self-supporting.  Once they are employed, residents pay a few hundred dollars for room and board, and that money goes back into the program to help new residents.