RICHMOND (WRIC) - After a jail sentence, returning to life on the outside can be a challenge for inmates, but there's a program at the Richmond City Jail working to get them on the right path.
Since 2008, faith-based program Kingdom Life Ministry - called KLM for short - has given inmates serving drug sentences the tools they need to redevelop themselves.
While the men are still in jail, they receive counseling from KLM, spiritual guidance and other services to support their recovery.
"We want them to be better citizens instead of being better criminals," says Richmond City Sheriff C.T. Woody. "Our main goal is to keep is to keep them from coming back inside of our Richmond City Jail."
After jail sentences are complete, the ministry doesn't stop its work.
About 30 men a year move into a home on Richmond's Northside to continue with their transformation.
Sarah Scarbrough says each one puts his life behind bars behind him at this house and works on becoming a father, husband, employee, volunteer.
"We start in the jail as a transformation and come in here for the recovery," she says. "It's just incredible to see really the 180 on these guys' lives."
Some men who live here have full-time jobs. All do community service and have chores.
Gilbert Howard and Darryl Cousins completed the program and then stayed on as house managers to help those living here right now.
"[It's] a success not just for us but for the people we come into contact with on a daily basis."
"The guys in the house, we are brothers even though we're from different walks of life. We still have the same things in common we both lived the life of addiction," say residents Peair Harris and Charles Lee.
There's so much demand for these services that KLM hopes to open a second transition house.
There are temptations to pick up old habits as soon as these men are out of jail, but the journey towards a sober and productive life can begin here.
"It's something that I never thought I could do. I couldn't do it alone. I needed their help."
One recent study found KLM saved taxpayers almost $8 million over four years and lowered recidivism by 18 percent compared to some other programs at the jail.
Toi learn more about Kingdom Life Ministry, go to klmrecovery.org.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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