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Faith in Humanity: Cleveland restaurant gives former inmates a second chance

(Yelp Photo)

An upscale French restaurant in Cleveland is working to close the revolving door of incarceration by opening the door to opportunity for those who have served their time.

EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute gives ex-offenders 40 to 50 hours a week of culinary training during the day, while at night they get to use that training to cook real meals for real patrons.

The program’s creator, chef Brandon Chrostowski, said in an interview with CNN that he learned the importance of forgiveness and second chances when he was a “reckless teenager” and was offered probation for a crime that could have gotten him 10 years in prison.

He told CNN that when he sees how tough the transition from prison is, he always thinks “that could’ve been me.”

Chrostowski’s program lasts six months and offers former inmates housing as well as other resources to help them adjust to life after incarceration.

Chrostowski said that over 100 students have graduated from the program, 90 percent of them are employed and none of them have returned to prison.

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