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Program helps 'Open Doors' for former prisoners

A Rhode Island program is aimed at helping former prisoners adjust to life on the outside. (WJAR)

Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is backing a law that would help keep former prisoners from returning to jail.

Some of the measures are already in place in a Rhode Island program, Open Doors.

NBC 10 News spoke with one former prisoner in the program, who said his crime days are over.

Will Cintron spent his adult life bouncing in and out of prison.

That all changed in 2014.

"Nineteen months - that's the longest stretch I've been out," Cintron said. "And I want to keep it that way. I want to keep going."

Cintron said he has accepted responsibility for his past bad decisions. He never wants to go back to jail.

"I have my culinary arts certificate through CCRI," he said. "They helped me tutor when I was in the prison. They tutored me and I have some credits for some college courses."

Nick Horton, who works for Open Doors, is the support.

"I was working with (Will) pretty much every day for about a year and a half," said Horton. "There's really no other place that can do that."

That place is Open Doors, a program aimed at helping former prisoners adjust to life on the outside. It encourages them stay out of jail and also saves taxpayers money.

"The ACI costs around $50,000 dollars a year," said Horton. "We spend about $10,000 a client."

Besides the upfront money, the program also creates citizens who are contributing to society.

Cintron said the program is helping him thrive.

"I want to talk about the English course," he said. "I aced the final test."

Now, he has a part-time job, as well as an apartment. He hopes for a full-time career, along with a home and family.

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