Inmates seek fresh start at Kewanee Life Skills Re-entry Center

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KEWANEE, Ill. (KWQC.)- The Life Skills Re-Entry Center in Kewanee hopes to give inmates the skills and knowledge to lead a successful life after their sentencing. The center currently has 59 offenders and officials hope to gradually increase that number over the next year. Warden, Anthony Williams, said it's an opportunity to give offenders a second chance.

"The environment is a very positive environment for them to make that change, everybody is on the same page."

The center offers programs and classes on finances, character building and career choices. The goal is to help the offenders lead a normal life after jail and put them on a pathway to success.

"It's a change that you have to be willing to accept and so far every individual that I have here is really willing to accept that positive change."

Samuel Stewart, from East Moline, was one of the first to enter the facility when it opened in February. Stewart's current sentence is his third time in jail, he said he is determined to make it his last.

"They've taught me some things, and today I had to identify what some weaknesses are that I have within myself and those are kind of hard to identify in yourself sometimes," said Stewart. "It's good to look at yourself so you can strengthen those weaknesses."

As of now, the center accepts only males. Each inmate in the center must apply before being admitted. All offenders have five years or less in their sentences. Officials hope to bring inmates with life sentences into the jail to help instruct and mentor in the future.