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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: What Happens When an Ex-Offender Leaves Prison?

Scott Hadfield / flickr

Did you know the United States has the highest rate of incarceration of any country? And that a disproportionate number of the imprisoned are people of color? The reasons might surprise you. Western Michigan University’s Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations has been tackling these questions through its four-part “Unequal Justice” series of forums. Tuesday's program deals with challenges of the ex-offender, whose numbers are rising. Local officials say that by helping those leaving prison, in the end, we make our streets safer.

On WestSouthwest today, WMUK'sEarleneMcMichael turns to Tim Ready, race institute director, and Marcus Collins, director of Restore Ministries, a Kalamazoo-based prison re-entry program, for answers. Collins will address "Challenges Facing Ex-Offenders" as the featured speaker at the next lecture in the series scheduled for 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, April 28. The talk takes place at Bethany Reformed Church, 1833 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo, on the same grounds as Restore Ministries.

Listen below for the longer version of McMichael's interview in which Collins, himself an ex-offender as a juvenile, shares his difficult journey to finding employment.

It took him more than 230 interviews to land his first job.

Longer version

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