Program helps women released from prison get back on feet

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

DIAZ, AR (KAIT) - An organization in Diaz is working to help struggling women.

Cornerstone Transitional Home has helped several women, including those who have been released from jail.

For 19 years Bethany Davis, the home's director, worked as a pre-GED teacher at the prison.

The idea for the home came after hearing that several women who were in prison who would be released only to come back, Davis said.

"When I would ask each of them why I got the same stories," Davis said. "And that was that they would return to the same environment, the same association, and they just didn't have the opportunity to start over."

Davis saw that the women did not have support, accountability, jobs, cars, or even a place to live.

She partnered with Jennifer Smith, now the program coordinator and house manager, and together they set out a mission to give women another chance at life.

Smith was in the same shoes as the women because she was in jail on drug charges for 12 years.

"Seeing them, interacting with them, hearing the hearts of these ladies, and not just hearing it and just going home and saying 'oh well, I hope something good happens to them,' but putting action, putting hands and feet to the need that was being revealed to us," Smith said.

Davis and Smith raised enough money to put a down payment on the facility last June.

They received their license from the Arkansas Department of Community Corrections, and on Dec. 12, the first women came into their facility.

Now, there are 10 women at the facility. Davis said that they are helping three find jobs.

Davis said the women's whole outlook on life changes through the program, and it gives the women hope that they can move forward from their past.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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