SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - More than 40 percent of the people who get out of prison end up back there again later in life.
A new program right here in East Texas is hoping to cut down on those numbers. The new ministry, called New Wine Ministries, was formed by one devoted woman who has been teaching the word of god to prisoners since 1995. Just last year, she decided to go beyond helping women while they're in prison. Now, she's changing their lives once they get out.
"Romans 7:17. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it but it is sin living in me."
"38 years of addiction."
"To anything. Anything that would change the way I felt."
The storm inside of Mary Dupree started when she was 13 years old after a very traumatic childhood.
"I did mostly pills, but I smoked pot and I did LSD and later on in life I got hooked on crack cocaine and it was really the most severe monster I'd met in the drug world," Dupree says.
Her addictions defined her in every stage of her life, creating an uncontrollable tornado of emotions.
"It's devastating. It really is. The self loathing is really high and it's very depressing," she says.
She was arrested several times in her 38 years of addiction, but the last time packed a severe sentence.
"I was arrested for delivery of crack cocaine to an undercover officer," she says.
She was sentenced to eight years in Hobby prison in Marlin, Texas.
"It was a horrible way to live. It was just incomprehensible. It's like a whole different world. You have to been on your guard at all times. I wasn't a violent crimes inmate, but I was put in there with all the violent people. It was scary."
She then made the decision she'd needed to make for decades. She was going to kick her addictions and turn her life around.
"It was def life changing. I knew I didn't want to go back ever."
Dupree got out of prison after only two years because of her good behavior. The next challenge was finding somewhere safe to go, where she could stay away from her dangerous addictions.
That's where Miss Patsy comes in.
Patsy Godfrey came into Dupree's life years ago, the first time she went to jail. Patsy ran the jail ministry program. Once dupree heard about Patsy's new Dupreen ministry program, she knew it was where she needed to be. Patsy had been taking in women after they left prison, and letting them live an a home in Smith County while they go through a ministry program.
"This provides a different alternative," Dupree says. "It's a life saving facility. It really is."
"I really and truly think that we need to give the prisoners coming out a break because we have all sinned," Patsy says.
Patsy says structure and prayer are key to her program.
"We have classes, I have mentors for the women," she says.
"We got up at 7:00 every day," Dupree says. "I made my bed and we fixed breakfast and we had devotional time. I had private bible reading time, we had quite a few activities we went to, bible studies, went to her church. It was a structured environment but it taught me a lot. It really did."
Patsy has housed four women now, including Dupree. She says they are all success stories.
"I got an education with honors and right now my husband and I live behind the ministry where I did graduate," Dupree says with a smile.
Seeing the success in women like dupree, makes it all worth while for Patsy.
Dupree can't predict what will happen in this next chapter of her life, but knows she's calmed that dark storm inside of her and not too far off in the horizon, is light.
"I am going to wait and see what God has planned. I know it will be awesome," Dupree says.
Patsy just recently ran a budget and it will cost cost her around $50,000 to support five women in her ministry home just for the next year. This year, most funding came out of her pocket, so she's hoping for some help from her community.
She is holding several fundraisers this year, so if you'd like to find out more information or help out, click here.