Wausau non-profit helps released inmates transition - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau non-profit helps released inmates transition to life outside prison

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By Bonnie Shelton

WAUSAU (WAOW)--The transition from a small jail cell to life back in the community can be challenging for newly released inmates. Thanks to two Wausau men, it's getting a bit easier.

Chris Wilke started The Open Door a year ago after learning that inmates are often released at five a.m. in harsh conditions, with nothing to prepare them for the weather or job market.

Along with co-founder Mark Timkin, a former Wausau Police Officer, he created the program that provides warm clothing, work attire and job assistance for both men and women.

"I think that initial day for people coming out of jail is so important. They need to know that people do care and people want to help them," said Chris.

Because Mark is a former policeman, he has a special understanding of the former inmates. "It does allow me to understand people at their worst time of need."

The group has already helped a few inmates adjust to life outside prison, but now that they have an office at St. Paul's Church they can better serve the community.

The Open Door is always accepting donations and volunteers. Their office is located on Washington street behind St. Paul's Church in downtown Wausau.

Online Reporter: Bonnie Shelton

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