Ex-Convicts Get A Second Chance In South Dallas

By Andrea Lucia, CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Just last year, Jesse Prindel was sitting in prison, serving a sentence for cocaine possession. “When I got out, I’d lost my family, my wife, my kids,” he said. “Pretty much everything, from drug use.”

Now, Prindel is working toward a better life. “I go to church three times a week. I work 50 to 60 hours a week,” he said.

Prindel credits his dramatic turnaround to the Philemon House, a home for men who are re-entering the community after time behind bars. Founders said that there is a big need for this kind of place in south Dallas, which they claim is the second most likely place for a man to go after leaving a Texas prison.

The federal government predicts that most ex-convicts will re-offend. The Philemon House aims to reverse that trend. “The men that come to our house, they work in the community and restore things – paint porches, build handicap ramps,” explained Philemon House program director Dennis Gant.

According to Gant, the house provides job counseling, addiction therapy and Bible study – a Christian-based program designed to put men on a new path.

About 90 percent of the program’s participants have stayed out of jail.

Now, the organization is ready to expand. Organizers recently bought a 13-unit apartment complex on Holmes Street and hope that it will eventually house as many as 50 people. On Sunday night, the Philemon House held a banquet to raise money and educate supporters about their cause.

“Lot of people want to change,” Prindel said. “But when they get out, they don’t have an opportunity to change.”


One Comment

  1. Robert says:

    I am all for programs to help some criminals reintroduce themselves as a contributing citizen to get some aspect of their life back. Now lets talk about the other criminals such as SEX OFFENDERS. Do they deserve to live down the end of the street, across the street, behind my home where my wife and children play? Are these your type of criminals that stole for a living, did some drugs and got hooked type criminals? NO, these are mental criminals who found themselves addicted to molesting women and children living in your neighborhood made possible by the City of Dallas. Do a check on the website and see how many live in your area and you will be shocked. Apparently this is old news, but new to me and a shock. How does this happen?

  2. debbie says:

    And of the sex offenders in prison, how many had girlfriends that were underage and only two yrs older. And when the parents find out, they turn the male in. Or they have a child and all is good. Then the male breaks up with the girl, then the parents turn him in. He gets arrested and is a sex offender. There needs to be change in these laws. They are not waiting outside of a school house waiting for children, Most of the time the girl is 16 and the male is 18. Then they go to prison, labeled as a pediphile, cannot see their kids or go to a ball game. As taxpayers we need to do something about this. Change the laws. I know that there are thousands of sex offenders who abuse children, but I think, in our experience that this is revenge or anger because of a breakup.

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