OPEN INC. After eight years of helping mo re than 5,500 ex-offenders and their families adjust to life after prison, Dallas’s Offender Preparation and Education Network (OPEN INC.) was forced to close its doors because money finally had run out (D, February 1987). However, executive director Ned Rollo and his assistant Kath-erine Greene vowed to continue working on OPEN’s most important project from their homes: developing a series of educational booklets on the criminal justice system for their clients and for all inmates in the Texas prison system.
Dogged persistence has paid off. The First three volumes of the twenty-booklet series are being sold for $3 in all Texas prisons as well as in the Dallas, Denton, and Collin County jails. The program is the first effort in the nation to provide a comprehensive informational series on the basic elements of adult corrections.
The three books now available are Keeping It Together, a primer on incarceration; Grasping At Straws, a how-to guide to appealing convictions and seeking sentence reductions; and 99 Days And A Getup, on preparing for release. Five more books will be available this year along with the first audio tapes in a series on such subjects as probation, parole, and initial arrest and bonding procedures. Rollo and Greene also continue to conduct a monthly family support meeting and publish a bimonthly newsletter, “The Open Door.” All the work has been underwritten by some fifteen public and private groups in Dallas.
For his efforts, Rollo, who served five and a half years in prisons, last year received the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Liberty Bell Award (“in recognition of selfless commitment by a person in promoting the American system of justice”) and the Denton County adult probation department’s annual Community Corrections Award.