Program helps empower young Dallas County offenders

One judge is testing a program aimed at getting ex-offenders on the right path.

State District Judge Amber Givens-Davis has 15 people who are on probation in her program called Empowerment.

Non-violent offenders will get skills training, substance abuse treatment and a mentor. After six months she expects they also will have a job.

“A lot of them don’t have driver’s license, you know. We tell them go get a job, but if they don’t have the documentation to get the job then we’re setting them up for failure. So I’m trying to arm them with the life skills necessary and make sure that we… you know, it’s not holding their hands but it’s just making sure that we empower them. We let them know that you have a stake in this and you can do better,” Judge Givens-Davis said.

Two high-profile mentors are Patrick Williams, one of the famed Carter High School 12, and Christopher Scott, who was wrongly convicted of murder.

They said their experience in the legal system gives them credibility with young offenders.