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When inmates are released from prison, many don’t have jobs, a place to live or family to turn to. But through a program started by Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House in Dallas, ex-offenders have been offered a new lease on life.

This year, that program celebrates 10 years of fresh starts.

Sunday morning Dallas criminal court judges were handing out diplomas instead of punishments.

“Many of those people walking across the stage have never graduated from anything,” Jakes said afterwards.

The Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative, or T.O.R.I., is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. The program aims to rehabilitate ex-offenders. A decade and more than 10,000 ex-offenders later, Bishop Jakes said the results continue to amaze him.

“It touched me in a deep way,” he said. “That we kept the program alive sometimes literally by a thread and that it was worth it. That we were able to touch lives in powerful way.

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