IL DOC program gives parolees hope of creating a productive life - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

IL DOC program gives parolees hope of creating a productive lifestyle

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Finding a job, enrolling in school or looking for healthcare services can be tough.   But what if you are a parolee trying to find work, you've got more hurdles to clear.   On Tuesday the Illinois Department of Corrections brought a program to Bloomington designed to give ex-offenders another chance at developing a productive lifestyle. 

Parish Mayberry has been paroled from the Illinois Department of Corrections for about one year.   He said it's been tough finding a job.

"It's the stereotypes, you got to fight through that.   Some people don't give you a chance to even express yourself they already just prejudge you.  Even when you walk into employment places, gas stations," Mayberry said.

Mayberry is among nearly 300 parolees attending A Summit of Hope at the  Bloomington Salvation Army.   They are getting access to everything from jobs, education and healthcare. 

"We have to think outside the box and to think outside the box and make something happen for other people we have to bring a lot of different community groups to the table, " said Illinois Department of Corrections Spokesman Marcus King. 

Two-hundred Illinois State University students volunteered to help with the summit.   ISU Senior Bianca Aguas says putting several vendors all under the same roof is a good strategy. 

"I thought it was a great opportunity to help those getting out of prison and just help them find resources,"  she said. 

Brian Perschall has a job but wants to become a social worker.

"Job services, school information.   I was thinking about going back to college and obtaining a degree and moving in that direction,"  he said.
 
There were more than a dozen vendors at the summit. 

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