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An Oklahoma City nonprofit bails inmates out of jail. Will it work?

An alleged check forgery landed Pierre Wilson in the Oklahoma County jail last year, where he languished for months without the ability to pay a couple of hundred bucks in bail, and the question of whether a normal life would always be out of reach. “I thought I'd see the judge and straighten it out,” he said. “It's shocking to believe somebody could sit in county for $200.” It was shocking enough that an Oklahoma City nonprofit replied to Wilson's letters seeking help. A program started by The Education and Employment Ministry and funded by private donors bailed out 89 inmates between September and December, giving them new beginnings through services aimed at breaking the cycle of incarceration.

More than 40 percent of the former inmates found jobs as they awaited their day in court. Some struggled, tallying 22 new technical charges such as driving without a license. But of the 89 inmates bailed out by TEEM, just one faced a new criminal charge after pretrial release, according to figures provided by the nonprofit. Among the freed inmates was Wilson, a 46-year-old father who had been in jail since June. He walked out Nov. 4. Wilson had never been apart from his 11-year-old daughter for more than two days. Soft-spoken as he is, the memory quiets him even more. “It's hard to explain being away for five months,” he said. Read more at


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