Graduate Spotlight: Sally Finnerty

Tell us how you came to TPOM.

My original thought was to make parole and go home, but my first home plan didn’t work out. Another inmate who got to go to the TPOM seminar at Bledsoe gave me a brochure and it looked like a good program. By the time I talked with Cynthia and Michelle, I knew it was the place for me.


What were some of the things you were thinking about when you first arrived?

I was nervous. I left prison with nothing–no clothes, no money, no idea even how I would make a phone call. But we pulled up to the house and it was so beautiful, so much more than I had imagined. I got clothes from the supply at Radnor, was handed a phone to use, and food stamps were ready for those first days. Everything fell into place. There was a lot to do, but it was not overwhelming. The program anticipated my every need. From picking me up at the bus station to buying my first McDonald’s meal, there has been someone at every step of the way to tell me what’s next.


How else has TPOM been able to help with your reentry?

Fred worked hard with me to find the appropriate place. I ended up at Jason’s Deli and it’s been a good job for me. The classes have been very good and the AA group was good. The interns and the counseling really helped me. I’d love to give back someday soon. People here helped me with the spiritual side of things as well. Sometimes you may get tired, but you keep going and the program works. It helps you develop habits that you should have. Someone is always available if you need some help, but most of the time they anticipate what you need.


What do you think people need to understand about incarceration?

There is a lot of loneliness. I missed talking with others about normal daily life. In most cases during incarceration, there is not much preparation for a woman to come into the workplace. The college courses in some places are a great idea. Some people might be surprised how much a simple project like providing a gift bag at Christmas time means to the incarcerated.


What goals do you have for the future?

I’ve got a 13-year-old son that I’ve stayed in contact with almost daily. I’ll go where he needs me to be. If TPOM comes to Memphis (near her home), I want in, at least as a volunteer. I think helping other people who have had this experience will give me a purpose.


What advice would you give others who are considering the program?

If you’re ready for a positive life change, this is the place to be. Open your heart and soul. With God’s help and TPOM, you’ll be able to be successful.


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