The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC ex-convicts celebrate opportunity

By Shelly Williams/editor-in-chief

Her son and daughter have been in and out of prison. Her husband is a minister, and his two sons are both police officers.

NE student Rachel Yancy said people often joke about her family as “cops and robbers,” but every year for the past four years, the family hosts an awards banquet as part of the Community Partnership of Tarrant County to honor and encourage ex-prisoners or those on parole who have remained out of trouble since their release and have achieved personal successes like going back to school, working and/or graduating.

Last year, Yancy finished her own parole time on the day of the banquet after serving four months in prison herself. Now, she has a certificate in chemical dependency therapy.

This year, SE student Eric Parlogean was the banquet’s keynote speaker.

Parlogean did 14 years in and out of prison and faced 33 felony convictions. But with the help of his parole officer, he graduated from Arlington Career Institute as president of his student body in October. Parlogean is now a certified paralegal.

“A few years ago, it seemed impossible that I would be out and living right, except for the intervention of God into my life and the help and support of some very special people,” he said.

He said if it weren’t for positive reinforcement given to him by his parole officer, he and many others would still be headed down the wrong path.

It’s this positive reinforcement that made Parlogean start Mansard Transitional Centers, a comprehensive non-profit center to help keep parolees from returning to criminal acts.

“I began planning in 2000 while still locked up,” he said. “I would talk with every prisoner that came back. Offenders that were coming in, going out, coming in and going out, I’d say, ‘Hey man, what happened?’ They’d say, ‘Aw, man, you know I got caught up.’”

After that, Parlogean said he’d spend time breaking down the cycle with the other prisoners and researching everything he could find about what makes people relapse into crime.

“What I found is a parolee can stay on the right path with steady encouragement,” he said. “Without encouragement, a parolee might again gravitate to the thing at which they were successful — being a professional offender.”

Parlogean said he discovered that an estimated 19 percent of those with stable employment in the first year after release from prison are less likely to return to crime.

An estimated 32 percent of parolees who are unemployed return to criminal activities, he said.

Parlogean was one of the 106 people honored this year.

And though not all showed for the banquet because of other obligations, about five were TCC students.

“There are thousands of people on parole in Tarrant County,” Yancy said. “The community partnership decided, ‘Let’s celebrate their success.’ And it’s been wonderful.”

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