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‘Summit Of Hope’ Expo Aims To Help Ex-Cons Get Lives Back On Track

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HARVEY, Ill. (CBS) – Hundreds of ex-offenders have been turning out in suburban Harvey on Tuesday, to attend a state resources fair designed to help them reintegrate into society.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports the “Summit of Hope” expo was one of at least a dozen held during the year throughout the state, to help ex-offenders with everything from job interviewing skills; to physical exams, and HIV testing; to information about getting jobs, bank accounts, or state IDs.

Joseph Guido, 28, has been out of prison for nearly a year, after serving three years behind bars for car theft. He said it’s been hard to find works.

“Labor jobs, mostly; I mean, that’s the only people that hire convicts. I mean, cash-paying jobs,” he said. “Burger King won’t even hire you, so it kind of stinks.”

Rodney Jones, 44, spent 10 years in prison, and was released in March, and said he’s optimistic about getting his life back on track.

“I think it’s a blessing that there’s something that can help us back into society, and stay successful, then not going back to prison,” he said.

Marcus King, senior community outreach administrator for the Illinois Department of Corrections, has been running the expos for the state, and he said they help ex-cons from going back to prison.

“There is a lot of hope that they can do better, and you see a lot of people, they leave with positive attitudes,” King said.

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