Mentoring program keeps parolees on track

Jail bars (KSN File Photo)
Jail bars (KSN File Photo)

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WICHITA, Kansas – With 4,700 prisoners set free on parole each year in Kansas, about a third end up back behind bars within three years.

Roy “BJ” Haulcy was sent to El Dorado prison for aggravated robbery and will do anything to keep from going back.

“It’s the main reason I signed up for the mentoring program,” said Haulcy.   “Like maybe something I’m doing isn’t right.  Maybe I need a new outlook on life.”

He’s now at the Wichita Work Release Facility, set to get out in February, but already, Haulcy has a friend on the outside.

“We started our relationship Skyping with each other, just getting to know each other, just talking about the goals he had for himself,” said Nate Davis Senior.

The two men met through a Kansas Department of Corrections program started two years ago called “Mentoring 4 Success.”

Community volunteers help parolees avoid the pitfalls, like unemployment,  that often lead them back to crime.

“It’s somebody who helps you dress for an interview,” said Gloria Geither, KDOC Director of Mentoring. “It’s somebody who helps mock interview skills with you, helping you get your G.E.D. so you can be successful.”

Geither says so many parolees have burned their bridges with family and friends back home, they don’t have anyone to turn to for good advice. That’s where a mentor comes in.

“I mean, he’s always there,” said Haulcy.  “Whenever I call, need bus passes, whatever.  We pray, talk about God a lot.”

But Davis shares more than his faith with parolees.  The religious activist also has a record.

“By time I was 13, I was a multiple felon,” admitted Davis.

He spent time in prison and psychiatric hospitals before finally turning his life around.

Davis now uses his past to show other felons how to get straight.  Perhaps his biggest test came with parolee, Isaiah James.

James had gone to prison for selling drugs, and just two days before he was released, James learned his youngest child had been abused, his skull fractured.

“For a person who ain’t ever really cried for real for real, seeing something like that done to a baby clicks a different part,” said James.

It made him want revenge on the man suspected of hurting his child, the mother’s boyfriend.

“It was something that had it happened to me,” said Davis.  ” I would’ve probably gotten in trouble.”

But they talked it over, and Isaiah weighed the consequences for his other three kids at home.

“Why would I allow myself the chance of taking me out of their life even longer that I’ve already been out of their life?” said James.

Instead, he’s letting the courts do their job, with the suspect headed to trial next week.

In the meantime, James is going back to school with the goal of owning a business someday, a dream made possible because someone like Davis believed in him.

For more information on becoming a mentor, call 785-296-0450 or go to http://www.doc.ks.gov/mentoring.

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