Volunteers for The FIRST 72+ outside of their building.
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First 72+: Program Provides Former Inmates with Hope & Homes

The First 72+ program helps ex-offenders re-enter society successfully. The Lousiana program provides ex-inmates with a transitional housing and resources.

Many individuals leave prison after incarceration for long periods usually have no place to call home. They have nowhere to go or live. Maybe their families left the places they used to stay. In fact, many ex-inmates burn a lot of bridges.

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With no means of transportation or clothing, many don’t know what to do. Having a criminal record and the task of looking for a job to sustain them, many don’t know where to start. They can’t go anywhere involved in fishy activities. It poses a risk to their parole statuses.

That is why many of the formerly incarcerated turn to their old lives. They go back to their old neighborhood, to what they remember, in a quest to look for a life.

It is the only place they will be received with open arms. They engage in activities that them into trouble. As a result, many find themselves back into prison.

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What is the First 72+ Program for Ex-Offenders?

The First 72+ program has helped a lot of ex-offenders re-enter society successfully. The program provides inmates fresh from prison with a transitional place to stay.

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They provide ex-inmates in the program a way to get around. The program gives them an opportunity to earn a living. The biggest thing it gives them is hope. The First 72+ has its headquarters near the New Orleans Justice Center Jail, Mid-City, Louisiana.

According to a field mentor at First 72+, Daniel Tapia, when a prisoner is released, reality smacks the former law-breaker in the face. Tapia is a former inmate himself.

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Having spent a dozen years in jail, he tries as much as possible to assist inmates in the First 72+ program. He knows they are in a place he once was.

The First 72+ works hand in hand with Rising Foundations. It is a companion organization that provides an alternative support system. According to Tapia, the support is very crucial in the beginning, after a prisoner is released.

Through the program, they assist the formerly incarcerated reacclimate to the community. It helps them stay away from prison.

Volunteers for The FIRST 72+ outside of their building.
The fact that these people dedicate their time to such a worthy cause is a sign that there is hope for inmates in the US Prison System, whether they’re seeking release or better conditions during their sentence. Image Source: The FIRST 72+

Co-directors and the board are comprised of formerly incarcerated individuals. According to the organizers, this is key to the success of the re-entry program.

Rev. Tyrone Smith of the Next Generation of Original Morning Star Full Gospel Baptist Church is an affiliate of the program. He believes the people who are close to a problem are close to a solution.

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Abigael Shem
Abigael Shem has eight years of experience in academic, content, research and creative writing, editing and proofreading. Developing any type of content is now an easy task for her. When she's not writing, she enjoys singing, dancing, hiking, traveling and sports, especially football and basketball. Abigael currently writes news for prison loved ones on Prison Rideshare Network.