Video helps inmates prepare before sentence starts

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People headed to prison in Indiana are now required to watch a video that could change their lives after they get out.

The video is called "First Day In," but the idea is to help get convicts ready after their last day in prison.

Ex-convict Mark Barmes, who twice served time for forgery, is featured in the video, giving his personal testimony about finally avoiding prison's revolving door. Even after doing hard time, Barmes worked his way up to management at Leafguard of Indiana, a custom home gutter business.

"I decided no matter what, I was not coming out the same way I went in," Barmes said. "That doesn't start the day they go into re-entry, three months before they get out of prison. It actually starts the moment they got arrested."

"It's so important that they don't wait until they get out," said Marion County Re-Entry Director Dr. Willie Jenkins.

Jenkins has flooded Indiana prisons with video to reach every inmate with hopes of tasting freedom again.

"Direct them to the individuals who are in our community who can serve them and help meet the needs that they have," he said.

He also shared the video with the Diagnostic Center, where prisoners are processed into the Department of Correction. Superintendent Jim Wynn hopes the video will serve as a serious resource for prisoners and help stop the "boomerang effect."

"Some have a tendency to keep coming back. They get involved in drugs, lack of jobs, lack of education," Wynn said.

"The ultimate thing would be, like, 'Great, man. I think I can do it if he can'," Barmes said.

"The First Day" video is available on DVD for anyone to see.