Grant Pays For Program To Prepare Prisoners For Release

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The Horizon Program is working to prepare inmates for release.

The Ohio Attorney General on Monday saw how the $125,000 in grant money is being used.

Sylvester Lawson is serving 27 years for crimes that include aggravated robbery, robberies, felonious assault, rape, kidnapping, carjacking and a slew of specifications.

Lawson believes The Horizon Program pulled him from the shadows of his crimes to a better life. He now spends much of his time writing, while serving time at the London Correctional Institute.

This is not what he thought he was going to spend his nearly three decades behind bars doing.

“I didn’t want to do the normal things that are done in prison. I decided I wanted to do more,” he explained.

The Horizon Program teaches inmates everything from computer skills and how to write a resume to how to end an argument.

Each lesson is taught by multi-faith teachers and volunteers.

Inmates shook hands with Attorney General Mike DeWine, thanking him for the $125,000 grant infusion that kept the initiative afloat.

“As processing attorney and as attorney general, I put a lot of people in here. That does not mean we don’t want to continue working with them if they want to change,” said DeWine.

Michael Walter does.

After a deadly bar fight, he’s serving 30 years to life.

He’s finding that when one door slammed, another one opened.

Walters says that he’s “definitely a changed man. My worldly views, my belief system and I have hope now.”

Lawson has no option for early release and his participation won’t impress a judge. He says the program is just for him.

“Today is a new day. Live as though it were your last,” he explains.

More than 700 Ohio inmates have already graduated from The Horizon Program.

Its administrators tell 10TV that 90 percent of its graduates have not returned to jail.  

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