A rehabilitation program that could become a national model (Post & Courier)

Shakiem Maxwell will tell you straight — he was headed down the wrong road, doing all the wrong things.

At 22, he already had a rap sheet that included attempted armed robbery, forgery and drug crimes. He was doing time in the Charleston County jail when Amy Barch found him.

Today, Maxwell is enrolled in Barch’s Turning Leaf Project — a program that rehabilitates and reintroduces convicted criminals to society. He takes 18 hours of classes each week in cognitive behavioral therapy, financial planning and entrepreneurship. The rest of the week, he works for the city, cleaning streets and gutters.

Now Maxwell has a real job — and a new outlook.

“When you have so much positive going on, you don’t want to jeopardize that to go out and sell drugs,” he says. “I went from making $800 a month to $1,400 a month without having to take chances. It’s amazing to not have to worry about what you’re doing.”

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