Program aims to help give Arizona's inmates a second chance, outside of prison

There have been many reports recently about the job market heating up, but not everyone has an easy time finding work.

That is especially true for those who have been convicted of crimes.

There is a program, however, being pushed by Governor Doug Ducey (R-AZ) that is helping to give those people a second chance, in hopes of keeping them from heading back to prison.

Lewis Prison, or more properly, ASPC Lewis, is a facility near Buckeye. Prison is, by no means, a nice place, but there is a program in place that aims to help those who walk out of the complex from walking back in anytime soon, and it appears to be working.

Sunrise Employment Center is a kind of unemployment and job training office that is situated in the middle of the Lewis Prison Complex. It's a place where people who have made some big mistakes in life are getting training, as well as inspiration.

Inmates have to volunteer to be at the center. Once they do volunteer, they will learn all kinds of skills, in a hands-on setting, to get and keep a job.

According to Charles Ryan, Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, the program is seeing success.

"Thus far at the three employment centers statewide, here in Lewis, Tucson, and at the Perryville Prison, 288 inmates have gone through the program, and 110 have been gainfully employed, after participating in tis program" said Ryan. "We hope they're not coming back."

One former inmate, Donald Stevenson, did 10 years behind bars. He got some skills, as well as a good job when he got out. Now, Stevenson said live is good.

"All around, it did good to me," said Stevenson. "I own two vehicles, looking to buy a house now. 10 years ago, I didn't see any of that. They gave me a light."