Utah Woman Helps Released Felons Get Back On Track

Utah Woman Helps Released Felons Get Back On Track

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Shelley Osterloh reportingOften, convicts released from prison have little money and few belongings. Unless they have family to help, it's difficult finding a job and a place to live.

For more than ten years, Marianne Johnstone has helped released felons get on the right track. It wasn't what she had expected to be doing at 69.

Marianne Johnstone, Prisoner Information Network: "I was going to retire and do family history".

Instead she runs the non profit organization called the Prisoner Information Network which gives voice to convicts through a quarterly newsletter, and helps them when they get out.

Marianne Johnstone, Prisoner Information Network: "The biggest majority of them want to do right, they really do, but there are a lot of obstacles "

It started when someone in her family was imprisoned, and she began helping other inmates find family members on the outside.

Then she started putting together personal hygiene kits for them when they were released, and found some had no clothes to wear.

Marianne Johnstone, Prisoner Information Network: "The crew release people will call us and say we've got so and so coming out he's a 32 waist... So we can have the clothes for them. "

The more she did, the more she saw there was to do for people like Scott Ford, who didn't have family to help when they were released.

Scott Ford: "She was the first person i met when i came out.

Marianne Johnstone, Prisoner Information Network: "The biggest problem is... : they can't get a job, they go a lot of places that simply won't talk to them because they are a felon, they can't get housing because they are a felon... So we have felon friendly housing lists, felon friendly employer lists "

Ford is on his way to regaining his life and independence and Marianne helped make it happen.

Scott Ford: "She is blessing to all of us in here"

Marianne Johnstone says everyone deserves a second chance and she works to improve their chance for success.

Johnstone says they could always use more volunteers and donations.. For information on the Prisoner Information Network, check our the link above.

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