Second chance: Former inmates find support in Durham community

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Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Second chances Durham
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Second chances Durham

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Inside the Durham Reentry Homecoming Program Tuesday night, people like Drew Doll celebrated the power of a second chance. "Second chances are huge, " said Doll.

He knows firsthand what a second chance can do. Doll was released from prison in 2009 after serving four and a half years." I was an accountant before I went to prison and financial crimes were what sent me there, but there was a nonprofit that gave me a second chance to work as an accountant again. Finally, after some prayer and work my family was willing to give me a second chance," Doll shared.

He is now the reentry coordinator for The Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham. Doll is helping other former inmates see the power of a new opportunity to get it right.

"When you come back to the community and there's a feeling of do I really belong? Do I have a place in Durham? What we want to say is yes. Absolutely, you have a place in Durham," Doll continued.

Durham has one of the most robust reentry support systems in the state. From housing opportunities to jobs and training it's available to help formally incarcerated individuals get back on their feet. But often the people who need the resources don't know they exist.

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So, Tuesday night people took a reentry walk to learn about the resources available and hear the stories of how these providers played a part in so many reentry stories, including Tini Siatini. "They're using their time to help a stranger with information, guidance, and in so many ways," said Siatini.

The army veteran used his second chance to start a flourishing business. "I flip homes for customers, just about anything that goes to the house," he described.

He also paid it forward, hiring others on their reentry journey. "I know how much of a struggle it is when you come back not knowing where to go but for me, it was easier because I had already been there before," said Siatini.

He hired William Parker, who was asked to share his story at the reentry homecoming celebration. "It was easy to talk about where I'm going and what I'm doing because everybody's been so much help," said Parker.

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He came home six months ago with a check for $45 and his prison ID. Now Parker has a job, just received his driver's license, and moving his life forward. "If I was to say something to someone trying to get out, don't give up," said Parker.