HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The city of Hartford is expanding a program that helps people adjust back into society after prison.

News 8’s toured the new Re-entry Welcome Center and sat down with participants getting a second chance there.

“They think once a criminal always a criminal. That was my first crime, I had never been arrested for anything as an adult. I paid my debt. I paid it.”

Pierlette Jones is trying to find her way in the world after serving a 27-prison sentence.

“You have nothing but time to think. Nothing but time to contemplate and see where you went wrong, makes amends to those who were hurt. Make amends to the community,” said Jones.

At the age of 54…she’s getting a second chance through Hartford’s Reentry Welcome Center.

“We are here when they come back a second or third time. And we want them to know that,” said Beth Hines, the Executive Director of Hartford Reentry Welcome Center.

Beth has led Community Partners in Action for the last 30 years operating previously out of City Hall.

Having this larger space provides a more comfortable setting for incarcerated individuals trying to adjust.

“Everything is different. You’ve been there so many years and someone tells you what to do every hour of the day. And when you come out you don’t have that anymore,” said Virg Lewis, Program Manager at Hartford Reentry Welcome Center.

Inside the center—you’ll find many beautiful murals painted by program participants…as well as a computer lab so individuals can learn computer skills. Here, individuals are assigned a case manager who connects them to wrap-around services. Employment and housing assistance typically biggest needs.