New WRAL Documentary Looks at Challenges Inmates Face Returning to Life on Outside


Focal Point: “Time and Time Again”
New WRAL Documentary Looks at Challenges Inmates Face Returning to Life on Outside

Airs Wednesday January 7, 2009, 7pm

“I was just out there for a little bit of time and I slipped back. I slipped back. I started right where back where I left off eight and a half years ago.”
–Kerry Norman, an inmate who was re-arrested 37 days after being released from prison

Focal Point In North Carolina 22,000 inmates are released from prison every year.  About half of them are re-arrested within three years.  Such a high rate of recidivism reveals the challenges inmates face transitioning back into society after spending time in prison.  

WRAL’s new Focal Point documentary “Time and Time Again” takes an in-depth look at the challenges inmates face in trying to return to life on the outside. The documentary is hosted by WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter David Crabtree and airs Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 7pm on WRAL-TV.

The North Carolina News Network recently produced a series “Second Chances” about efforts to help turn around juvenile offenders. Listen here.

Most of these repeat offenders are drug addicts when they enter prison. When they are released they often have difficulty re-adjusting to society. Their criminal record makes it difficult to find jobs and housing.  Many of them lack a good education or job skills. They often return to drugs, the streets and the life that got them into prison in the first place. 

There is not enough funding to provide the substance abuse counseling, housing, education, job training and the other services they need to help them transition back into the community, yet experts say the cost of those services is far cheaper than the average $75 dollar per day cost of housing an inmate in prison.

Focal Point: “Time and Time Again” follows the path of 38-year-old Kerry Norman, who has been in and out of prison for most of his adult life. Our camera shows his life in prison, captures his most recent release, follows his struggles as he tries to transition back into society and is there when he is re-arrested and returned to prison just two months later. 

Norman’s story illustrates the challenges inmates face trying to return to life on the outside and the challenges probation and parole officers and social workers face trying to help them make it and avoid a return trip to prison.  The program also looks at possible solutions to the problem of recidivism.

Focal Point
“Time and Time Again” is the latest episode in the WRAL documentary series called Focal Point.  These in-depth news documentaries focus on a single topic, bringing depth and clarity to complicated issues facing North Carolina.  From North Carolina’s economy and environment, to health care and race relations – Focal Point takes viewers inside the lives of the people most affected.  Focal Point tackles the tough questions with leaders and policymakers who have the power to effect change.  WRAL News anchors, including David Crabtree, Pam Saulsby, Bill Leslie, Gerald Owens and Debra Morgan, host the series.  Six to eight new episodes of Focal Point will be produced each year. 

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Clay Johnson for this capcom story.

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