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A new way for addicts, ex-inmates

Some neighbors are concerned about plans for a new residence for ex-inmates and a halfway house for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts in Corydon. They are afraid that houses with convicts and addicts is a recipe for disaster, an invitation for trouble, and a threat to the children. They also fear their land values will drop.
We understand why they’re concerned but don’t think they have much to worry about.
A group of Christians who are very serious about helping inmates start a new constructive life once they leave jail is now remodeling the old Lincoln Hills Motel on S.R. 62 in west Corydon. The motel was a disaster when Louisville and Corydon businessman Bob Metts bought the motel and three acres of land and gave it to the Freed From Within group in September. (Metts’ brother, the late Frank Metts, started Talbot House for recovering alcoholics in Louisville. Through the years, it has saved lives and helped hundreds of people to a better life. That’s what Metts hopes to do here.)
The FFW group includes electricians, plumbers, painters, carpenters, contractors, heavy equipment operators and pastors. They have been thoroughly remodeling the buildings, from basement to roof, to make them into something the neighbors will be proud of, said FFW motel co-manager Gary Loy of New Salisbury.
Not just any ex-inmate can get in. The other manager, Bob Reilly of Corydon, said the ones who are accepted at ‘Freed From Within The New 62’ will have to come recommended by a jail official and be willing to sign a covenant agreement to participate with a carefully designed program for at least six months. They will be thoroughly screened. They will have all kinds of restrictions designed to help them walk a straight and narrow Christian path. They will meet weekly with a mentor and attend 12 Step recovery meetings or get professional counseling. They will have to have a job and attend church and Bible study each week. If they slip up, they’re gone, out of the program and the motel.
In other words, ex-inmates who apply are serious about a new life, a different way to live with good people supporting and directing them. That doesn’t happen to the vast majority of people who leave jail. This doesn’t mean the FFW people are naive. They know that 80 percent of all inmates go back to jail. They also know that one way to change that shocking statistic is to help inmates find a new lifestyle, away from the people and situations that probably led them to jail in the first place. It is a huge commitment with no promise of success.
It will be much the same at the House of New Beginnings, a non-faith-based facility that will be located at 545 Floyd Street. Right now, the board of directors is getting ready to request bids from architects for a 30-bed facility, said vice president Sheila Temple, a probation officer. Construction may begin in May, and the HNB may open this time next year.
Temple said the halfway house will be for men with substance abuse issues and gambling addiction. The applicants will be reviewed by a screening board. There will be no child molesters or rapists there. The HNB will have 24-hour supervision. Residents must have jobs, observe curfew and follow a strict schedule. They will be required to attend meetings to help with recovery, financial management, anger management, parenting skills, and so on.
A wise person once said that you can judge a society by the way it treats its prisoners. We used to treat our former inmates and drug addicts in an inhumane way: Turning them out on the street and expecting them to become productive citizens. That is unrealistic and tragic. With Freed From Within and the House of New Beginnings helping people who need help, we are happy to have compassionate people in our midst who are putting the Golden Rule into practice and being truly good neighbors.