Richmond program helps former inmates transition back to society

Vanessa Winckler gave a personal account about the struggles she faced after getting out of prison 15 years ago.

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — Fathers, wives and friends met Monday night in Richmond to talk about how “Adult Alternative Program” can help former inmates transition back to society.

Vanessa Winckler was one of the main speakers at the event. She talked about her personal struggle with drug abuse, prostitution, and many years spent in prison.

“It’s not where you’ve been, it’s where you’re going,” she said.

But her message Monday to those who’ve been through a similar path was one of hope.

Winckler knows first-hand the importance of a support system that helped her start a new life.

“I’m coming up on 15 years clean, I haven’t been incarcerated in 15 years. I’m the manager on my job,” she said.

It’s the sort of turn-around the Richmond group wants for all former offenders.

“We provide all the resources necessary for one coming out of prison, or one who’s already out of prison, to be successful,” said Kenneth Williams, the CEO of Adult Alternative Program.

The program focuses on character development, and provides training in construction.

“We provide skill sets in the construction industry, and we renovate houses, and we turn these houses over and the proceeds come back into the program,” explained Williams.

Eventually they will help the person get a Class-C contractor’s license.

“I think it’s 100 percent what I’m looking for, what people need in the city to motivate themselves or go further in life,” said Nathanial Riley, whose sibling just got out of prison.

“I believe that they help some people to go somewhere,” said Winckler.

If you’re interested in learning more about the program, visit Adult Alternative Program’s website.

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