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She returned to jail for doing something right: 'I’m a changed woman... I’m going to help change others'

Posted at 3:58 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 15:58:58-04

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. -- Anntionetta Harris has spent 12 years behind bars over three separate incarcerations.

She returned to Riverside Regional Jail after her most recent release not because she did something wrong, but because she did something right.

"I was here [at Riverside Regional Jail] and now I work here," Harris said.

After serving three years and five months, Harris walked out of Riverside Regional Jail only to walk back in with a job thanks to a culinary program called In-2-Work.

Anntionetta Harris Riverside Regional Jail
Anntionetta Harris

"I was wondering how at my age, am I going to get a job when I’m out of here," she said. "How am I going to be successful enough to change being part of the recidivism rate?"

Aramark is the company behind the In-2-Work program.

"It’s about second chances, it's about understanding you can learn a skill and at some point move on beyond those four walls and have a skill set and be confident to work in any kitchen," Chef Randy Bain, with Aramark, said.

Anntionetta Harris Riverside Regional Jail
Aramark Chef Randy Bain

Working inside the jail, Harris has a unique understanding of what some inmates are going through. The inmates can see in Harris that there are opportunities for jobs in food service if they want them.

"She took the opportunities that we gave her to be in the In-2-Work Internship and she made it look so easy, because that was already in her," Riverside Regional Jail Superintendent Tojuanna Mack said. "You have to give people the opportunity to show you that they’ve changed."

Anntionetta Harris Riverside Regional Jail
Riverside Regional Jail Superintendent Tojuanna Mack

The In-2-Work program is specifically designed to give inmates who participate the necessary skills to get a job when they leave jail.

"I’m a changed woman and I’m going to help change other people," Harris said.

Watch for Wayne Covil's stories on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com. If you know someone Wayne should profile, email him wayne.covil@wtvr.com.

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