Thursday morning, Anthony Makarikas came to the Bedford County Correctional Facility as a visitor after he was an inmate there for three years.
“Today, for me, it’s a part of growth. Coming here is part of growth for me,”
Anthony is now married, bought a house, and works as a cook at a restaurant.
“I found somebody that actually gave me a chance. Now, there comes all the gratefulness, the gratitude all the hope that you start building in yourself that you can move forward in life,”
That was the message Anthony shared at the first annual Bedford County Day of Responsibility, hosted in partnership with Your Save Haven.
While these events are typically held at State Correctional Institutions, organizers say this was the first time it was held at the county level.
Lucille Kentner, Treatment Specialist for the Bedford County Correctional Facility, says the event was meant to help inmates imagine a positive life.
“We are the new face of corrections. We’re not about punishment. We’re about rehabilitation. You take that first step, and you accept responsibility for what you’ve done, so you can continue to move forward and improve your life,”
19 inmates volunteered to listen to speakers and victims of crime, encouraging them to take responsibility for their actions and hold themselves accountable.
Kentner says it’s to help them recognize the pain they may have caused victims, families, and communities.
“We are here bringing victims and offenders together so that they can talk about what they have in common because a lot of times our offenders are also victims and that the offenders can make amends and take responsibility for the actions that have created the ripple effect,”
In addition to speakers, the inmates themselves could also take the mic and share how they’ve grown since their time at the facility.
Before they go back into the real world for another chance.
“They’re not just ‘those people in jail.’ They are community members, they are our neighbors, they are the people that we shop next to in Walmart and the grocery stores. They will be back in the community. We want them to know that they have our support. Because without that support, they’re not going to be able to move forward,”